Following the lead set by the U.S. and Israel, India is now tapping its domestic start-up ecosystem for technological innovation and self-reliance in defence. Indian entrepreneurs are developing niche technologies which will boost the Indian military’s combat capabilities. They are also enabling the much-needed commercial synergy with Silicon Valley venture firms.
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In March 2021, the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced the addition of 15 manufacturing facilities to the prestigious Global Lighthouse Network. Two Indian companies were on the list – the Tata Steel facility in Jamshedpur, and the ReNew Power facility in Hubli. This is twice the number of Indian companies on the list last year. Many more facilities will likely be added to the WEF list, as several prepare to graduate their manufacturing businesses to keep up with Industry 4.0.
This month marks the beginning of triple celebrations in Bangladesh, including the 50th anniversary of its independence, for which Prime Minister Modi will be traveling to Dhaka as the guest of honour. There is much to celebrate: A country that began as a case study for development is now on top of the global GDP charts. The springboard was achieved through a thriving textiles industry, women's workforce participation, micro finance, liberal investment policies. There is much to learn from this neighbour.
Tata Steel is one of the few global companies on the prestigious Global Lighthouse Network for its advanced digital manufacturing systems - and the only Indian company on the list. The vision of a digitally integrated manufacturing facility was introduced when the Tata Steel Kalinganagar plant (TSK) was conceptualized in 2006. The subsequent implementation and continuous upgrade of the facility has made it a global benchmark. This case study on TSK's journey can guide other companies to overcome challenges in upgrading systems, using artificial intelligence and big data analytics to increase efficiency and drive innovation.
COVID-19 has forced India and its manufacturers to quickly step up their adoption of digital manufacturing processes. There are four elements of this ecosystem already in place – the digital infrastructure, government schemes, academic learning, and a burst of start-ups. This, supported by key policy decisions by the Indian government, will propel Indian manufacturing to higher levels of efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness.
As multiple foreign powers compete in Africa, there is a need to understand the geopolitical landscape, and analyse the various policies, strategies and motivations of each country. Where lies India in this great strategic game? India has a unique relationship with the continent, with respect for equality, mutual benefit, and need-based assistance. By deepening India-Africa cooperation, bolstering economic relations and leveraging new digital, space and medical technologies, the relationship between India and the African nations can be better cemented, despite the global competition at play.
In principle, India supports democracy everywhere, but is also committed to non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. But instability in Myanmar could trigger support for insurgency in India's North east, which is now on the path to progress. Accelerating the completion of India’s development cooperation projects in Myanmar will send a positive signal for regional stability.
As more countries pursue missions to Mars, planetary explorations are evolving from being science-driven scientific pursuits to an economics-driven one. For India, commercializing planetary exploration must be a national priority. This demands more attention and contributions from the private sector - especially startups and innovative companies - to ensure a vibrant space program.
Japan and India’s North East are culturally contiguous – and have been for centuries. From their monoliths and cenotaphs, to the sacred bamboo and house construction, the old similarities are now being carried into the future by the younger generation of North Easterners, who admire and seamlessly blend Japanese creative influences like anime, food and street style, into their own.
The U.K. is out of the EU, and re-positioning itself into the idea of Global Britain, seeking partnerships into diverse groupings and regions. India was an early strategic, defence and digital outreach, but a serious pivot has been made to broader Asia for trade and investment linkages, with vigorous follow-up. The re-entry and acceptance of Britain in Asia, has implications.