On 23 June 2021, Gateway House hosted the Interim Meeting of the Quad Economy and Technology Task Force. Lisa Curtis and Surjit Bhalla, co-chairs of the task force, explain how the Quad can scale up economic and technological collaboration and pool resources to counter Beijing’s plans to dominate supply chains and global tech.
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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.
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.
Using computer vision and AI to capture factory-wide data of human operators, Drishti Technologies co-relates human actions to line efficiencies, bottlenecks and root-cause analysis. Indian manufacturers operating at the lower end of the automation curve can use this combination to improve productivity, safety and quality by a deep-dive into human-action analytics.
The Indian administration enacted much-needed space reforms in 2020, paving the way for a private space industry in the country. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has suspended space launch activities in the country. The Department of Space must remove these redundancies to make India’s space launch centers and spaceports market-oriented and ready for commercial, military, civilian, and experimental space launches.
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.
The future is likely to see ‘Big FinTech’ replace ‘Big Tech’. But this time around, India can be part of the story from the ground up. India has been ahead of the fintech game on the technology, regulatory and consumer fronts.
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.
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.
As new technological advances take place every day, India must keep up. While the U.S. is still a front-runner in defence technologies, China and Russia are catching up quickly. In order to counter this, India can insert itself into the pre-existing bilateral co-operation between the U.S. and Israel. Sameer Patil, Fellow, International Security Studies Programme tells us how.