India has institutionalized a robust civilian-space agreement with the U.S. through the Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation in 2005 and added a military dimension to it in 2020 when it signed the U.S.-India BECA Agreement. The two countries should now partner to secure each other’s interest in the rapidly-maturing space economy sector.
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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.
Start-ups are the latest entrants in the defence manufacturing sector. They have greater access through the Innovations in Defence Excellence programme. The technologies developed by them will add to the Indian military’s operational and combat capabilities. Beyond the obvious market for the defence forces, there is also the huge homeland security market in India and abroad for the start-ups.
The depth and complexity of India’s digital citizenry and ecosystem puts it in a unique position to impact global rules on digital governance. An opportunity to assert its influence is coming up with India’s presidency of the G20 in 2022. Work on this agenda must begin now.
As the world enters the Second Space Age, an Indo-Emirati space partnership can be a lodestar for others. However, it is only the people-to-people connect and the diversity of the innovation linkages between the Emirati and Indian diaspora, that can truly make it a success for science and citizens, and help achieve their aspirations for the 21st century.
COVID-19 has accelerated internet usage and is making digital infrastructure even more indispensable globally. India is actively laying this critical infrastructure on the ground, but is yet to work on the strategic ‘last-mile’ connectivity space-based ICT and 5G plus services. U.S. and China have fast-tracked this, and India should immediately implement the recent space reforms to be regarded as a significant player.
Facial recognition technology has emerged as an important identification tool. Big tech, social media companies and governments around the world use it and hold an unprecedented power over individuals and communities. Its use for surveillance purposes has brought it under public scrutiny. The technology has still not been perfected. Is it really ready for adoption?
The delivery of five Rafale fighter jets last month is a big boost for Indian military capacity. The government's recent ban on the import of 101 defence items is a major step forward in building domestic defence-industrial capabilities. Partnering with like-minded diplomatic partners and adopting emerging technologies will help India in this endeavour.
The delivery of five Rafale fighter jets this week demonstrates the continued upgrading of India’s military capabilities. A key part of this process has been the building of a domestic defence-industrial base by promoting participation of the private sector. Bringing certainty to defence procurement, monitoring emerging technologies and joining hands with like-minded countries, will play a critical role in taking this forward.
The world is experiencing two simultaneous transformations: a decoupling from China and the building of an alternate supply chain, and the creation of new, cutting-edge industrial process called digital manufacturing. It is part of the larger wave of Industry 4.0, an integration of industrial processes with the Internet of Things. India already has some of the key elements in place, and some successes to build on.