The recent use of geospatial analyses by Indian social and mainstream media for near real-time defence and military intelligence in Ladakh has been made possible because of the lower cost of earth-observation satellite construction, and thereby, easy access to satellite imagery on the internet. While independent analysis is useful, the same intelligence can be also used against the interests of a sovereign nation by an adversary, especially border imagery. India must find innovative methods to reduce this vulnerability of commercial satellite imagery.
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In the past five months, India has seen great change: ambitious economic reforms, billions in U.S. digital investments and a determined military and digital push back against China. India is now using the strategic and market weight of its 1.3 billion population and openly taking geopolitical sides to achieve its desired positioning, namely, to be a reliable partner in a more equitable global supply chain of virtual, physical and geopolitical elements.
The recent 15th India-European Union (EU) summit held virtually in July 2020 reflects a bilateral that is gearing for a boost, with both sides trying to move closer in a variety of ways. A serious effort will be required to properly reconcile strategic, trade and investment interests.
The recent rush of U.S. capital into India’s digital future, and India’s recent structural reforms, is the impetus for an attractive collaboration between the U.S. and India. To really succeed, the U.S. will have to support India with the same kind of technical assistance and best practices in areas like regulation, distribution, and innovation, that it gave China. The alternative is for India to follow Europe’s regulatory model, which places less of an emphasis on job growth and innovation.
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.
The COVID crisis compelled a change in the Business20 (B20) focus areas to reviving health, health facilities and business activity in 2020. India must start work now to give the B20 even greater responsiveness and relevance as the prospective G20 chair in 2022.
Germany has taken over from China as the new president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Will it be the one to put Pakistan on the black list – or will realpolitik and national agendas prevail, with terrorism financing continuing to flourish?
India can attract greater foreign direct investment through green bonds – a climate finance debt instrument that addresses environmental and climate-related challenges. These issuances have been linearly increasing over the years, driven by institutional pressure, provided in part by the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s regulation, and by the informal advocacy of market stakeholders.
After the strategic digital pushback against Chinese investments and apps, India should turn its attention to the biggest Chinese domination tool – 5G. This is the mother lode that enables the efficient gathering of data, which when mined, results in product enhancement and pricing benefits to products listed in China 2025 and helps China set global standards. There is an urgency for alternate suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China.
Canada has been one of the biggest success stories in oil over the past few years. India should consider financial investments in Canadian energy assets as a means to secure its energy supplies.