Bharti Global’s stake in OneWeb has given India lateral entry into this lucrative and newly-competitive global satellite-based internet services market. India and the U.K., the two stakeholders in this company, can build and sustain this collaboration through a well-thought-out bilateral space diplomacy agenda.
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Now that the India-U.S. 2+2 meeting has ended, Indian officials are preparing for a hectic season of summiteering in November, from the SCO to the BRICS and the G20. All will give India global attention, and help the country prepare its positioning at home and abroad.
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.
The UN turned 75 this year but instead of grand celebrations, the world witnessed an empty UNGA with world leaders addressing it via video screening because of the pandemic. The UN is under unprecedented stress and being shown up for its inability to tackle the challenges of today like the pandemics, climate change, terrorism or global peace and security. The institution's key governing structures, especially the UN Security Council, are inadequate and demand reform. India must now use gritty resolve to ensure its place in these governing structures.
The current notions of physical ‘permanent establishment’ or tangible locational nexus are not well-suited for the taxation of modern digital economy, especially for taxation of business income, rents or revenue creating activities. In a Covid-19 wrecked global economy, where government revenues are under severe stress, there is a compelling case for a market country or the value-creating jurisdiction to tax the income or rents attributable to the concerned market or location.
Five days before World Maritime Day last week, the former Flag Ship of India’s Western Fleet headquartered in Mumbai – the Aircraft Carrier INS Viraat or R 22 – was towed away to the ship-breaking yard in Alang, Gujarat. This brought down the curtains on Viraat’s glorious career of 58 years at sea. The Indian Navy is awaiting the commissioning of a new aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’, named after the Indian Navy’s first carrier. Just as it will one day induct another new carrier and name it after the Viraat.
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.
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 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.
COVID-19 unified G20 leaders at an extraordinary summit last week. An idea given a nudge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, here was an opportunity for all participants to put together a plan and make a pledge for international cooperation, focusing on four main themes. Next, will they be able to turn words into action?