The recent Quad Leaders' Summit set cybersecurity cooperation as a priority for the four countries. The Quad leaders also announced the creation of a Senior Cyber Group, a joint effort on establishing cyber standards and security. This builds on an already-robust collaboration, especially since Quad members have shared cyber threat perceptions.
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In June this year, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency collaborated with Honda Research to build an energy system for surface mobility on the moon. SpaceX and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Tesla and Mitsubishi Motors have similar alliances, reflecting the increased participation of the automotive sector in the space economy. Tokyo wants its biggest export, automobiles, to pick up stakes in this space. India should have a similar ambition. The May 2020 space reforms recognise the significance of commercialising the space sector. But now is the time for long-term R&D investments in the domestic auto sector, to help India step into this play.
The simultaneous rise of India's tech unicorns with the unexpected crackdown by China on its star tech players, is an interesting study. India will certainly be a beneficiary of China's move, which is likely to scare foreign capital away. There's plenty on offer in India, with nearly 60 IPOs scheduled for a 2021 listing.
As the private or autonomous space industry becomes more developed, an interesting phenomena is occurring. The public sector which runs space programmes has lagged behind, but also profits from the recent success of private space companies are limited to direct stakeholders. After a decade of private investment, it is worth assessing why countries like the U.S., Russia, China and India have pursued independence from government entities in space over the last decade.
The idea of a U.S.-India-Israel trilateral cooperation is not unknown, but rather unfulfilled. Diaspora associations have repeatedly raised the idea of a technology triangle amongst the three countries, and in 2020, the three countries explored a potential cooperation in 5G communication technology. On these terms, taking advantage of the bilateral synergies and establishing a start-up corridor between Tel Aviv, Silicon Valley, and Bengaluru, can launch this partnership.
The ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline in the U.S. has underlined the importance of cyber security in critical infrastructure. India has not escaped the brunt of a recent global surge in cyber attacks. Though New Delhi has taken steps to protect critical infrastructure, problems in information sharing of threat vulnerabilities impede an effective response.
With the space sector being divided into astro-political blocs, India can't afford to stay non-aligned. A recent treaty between China and Russia makes it plain for India that leaving space exploration to a few science aficionados can be dangerous. India needs a national space exploration strategy with tangible economic and meta-strategic goals in sight.
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.
As the density of satellites increases in Earth's orbit, extreme space weather events like solar storms and radiation whiplashes threaten satellite constellations. A ‘whole-of-government’ approach is needed to address the challenges of space weather on India’s converging space and digital economies.
The maturing private space sector in the U.S. has learned to raise money from the market in the form of sectoral equity-traded funds. Such financing mechanisms will keep the U.S. ahead in the global space economy, which is slated to grow manifold from $430 billion now to $4 trillion by 2040. India's fledgling private space ecosystem, financiers, and stock exchanges can learn from the U.S. and do the same for India's newly reformed private space sector.