With mass digitisation, India has proved that technology is not just for the educated, privileged, and wealthy. The country's open and secure digital public platforms can be significant for the Indo-Pacific, the world's most data-rich region. The Indian model is applicable because it is open-source, interoperable, auditable, and enshrines individual rights, ownership, and empowerment.
The EU has been working on an India engagement for two decades now – a strategic partnership and a free trade engagement. It is finally being realised – the outcome of the visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Delhi this month. The upgraded, ambitious partnership Europe’s long overdue pivot to India.
On 20 December 2021, the Gateway House-FLAME Policy Lab organised a webcast on geopolitical contestations in cyberspace. Gateway House’s Sameer Patil moderated the discussion with former deputy National Security Advisor Latha Reddy, National Law University’s Gunjan Chawla and cybersecurity expert Atul Khatavkar.
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.
Big Tech is powerful and its profits are growing - by 105% over the last year. It dominates economies. This raises concerns about data protection and privacy, anti-trust, fintech and the specific role of intermediaries. India is leading the way on fintech, but is behind several countries and institutions on digital rules. It is important to establish laws and rules to govern technology – whether domestic or through multilateral bodies – with the aim to strike the right balance between innovation and regulation.
Digital Manufacturing in India can bring in a new age globalisation of manufacturing, and developing resilient, transparent and trusted supply chains. With the help of MNCs, start-ups and government in accelerating digital adoption, and India must become part of the emerging global trading system, using the COVID-19 pandemic to accelerate digitisation.
The 50-year-old Siemens facility in Kalwa adopted the Internet of Things, cloud and digital twin technologies to transform itself digitally and optimise manufacturing processes. It led to a 20% increase in productivity, and has made its product competitive with its German counterpart.
Individuals now generate copious amounts of personal data everyday – both online and offline. Devices and infrastructure extract data, which can be shared instantly across borders with diverse entities - without consent. It is imperative that countries come together to create regulations to protect individuals who are unable to control how their data is shared and processed. A model already exists in the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Space20 is the newest sub-forum of the G20 initiated by Saudi Arabia, with the support of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. India, on its way to the G20 presidency in 2022, should set a comprehensive Space20 agenda for the democratization of outer space, whereby it can share its space growth story with the developing world and achieve its goal to become a global knowledge epicenter.
India is the second largest emitter of methane in the world. But methane-cracking has enormous economic potential. It can help India become a high-technology manufacturing powerhouse by producing a steady supply of methane-derived, advanced carbon materials and hydrogen-energized transportation