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.
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Cyberattacks from Pakistan-based hacker groups targeting India have increased. The stepped-up cyber activity comes in the backdrop of Islamabad's new cyber security policy and expanded digital cooperation with China. India must bolster its existing abilities in cyber forensics and regulations to counter the enhanced Pakistani threat.
The Bay of Bengal is a natural bridge between South and South-East Asia, which New Delhi seeks to optimise. But progress on India's Act East policy has been slow, creating a space for China's Belt and Road Initiative to step into. While India cannot match China’s cheque-book diplomacy, it can use its start-up industry to pursue a combination of physical, technological and financial projects to improve regional connectivity.
In 'A Grand Strategy: Countering China, Taming Technology, and Restoring the Media', a new book on China's technological ambitions, author William J. Holstein explains China's push to advance its technological prowess, exploring the link between technology, politics and economics in today's world. In this podcast, he tells us more about this connection, which has often been overlooked by the American media.
Xi Jinping's crackdown on private tech companies in China has shattered hopes of Beijing being a 'responsible stakeholder' in a U.S.-led world order. American CEOs are also silent on how their tech products are used in China, especially artificial intelligence. The Federal Government should engage with these CEOs to moderate the proliferation of sensitive technology and prioritise national security.
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.
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.
On 30 July 2021, Lisa Curtis and Surjit Bhalla, co-chairs of the Gateway House Quad Economy and Technology Task Force, spoke to CNBC-TV-18 on the various channels of cooperation between the Quad countries in technology, supply chains and undersea cables, and the need to counter China's dominance in the Indo-Pacific.