A ransomware attack recently targeted Kaseya, a software services company in the U.S., for $70 million, incapacitating hundreds of its clients globally. There is an increasing incidence of such attacks, with perpetrators targeting government agencies and high-tech companies, leading to considerable economic losses. How can governments mitigate these threats and attribute responsibility to those accountable?
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For years, Western countries have used sanctions as a means of economic warfare against their adversaries. Now, China and Russia are utilising the same tactic against the West. The United Nations Security Council is paralysed by differences between the five permanent members, leaving the tools of unilateral sanctions and counter-sanctions to proliferate at the cost of UN-approved multilateral sanctions.
India’s oil consumption and imports are likely to resume their upward trajectory as the economy opens up, after a temporary drop due to the pandemic. To secure its energy needs, the country should shift course from investing in oil and gas assets of emerging economies to those of developed nations. The oil-rich Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, such as Canada, Norway, and the U.S. can be given special consideration.
With the U.S.-led Artemis Accords gathering momentum, and China and Russia joining hands, space exploration is becoming economically important. Countries increasingly want to participate in the space exploration economy and are partnering with space superpowers that have aligned geopolitical and geoeconomic interests. India, too, must do the same, says Dr. Chaitanya Giri, Fellow, Space and Ocean Studies Programme.
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.
The Quad countries are preparing for an autumn summit in Washington, which will provide an opportunity to discuss multilateral cooperation in various sectors. Four dimensions which merit closer attention and are crucial to the group's future are the Indo-Pacific strategies of European countries and the EU, partnerships with ASEAN and its members, closer India-U.S. ties and maritime security issues in the Pacific.
On 28 May 2021, the Biden administration submitted a much-delayed Defense Budget to Congress, asking for $715 billion for 2022, a 1.6% increase over the previous year’s $703.7 billion. This marginal increase highlights the U.S.’s shrinking capacities compared with China, which spends less than a third of the U.S. on defence. This Budget is focussed on challenges in the U.S.’s geographic vicinity, not the administration’s resolve to counter the threat of China from a position of strength.
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.
As China’s global competitive edge is sharpening across the military, economic, diplomatic, and technological domains, it is clear that the extent to which the Quad countries (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States) can collaborate across all four domains will be an important factor in determining whether China’s hegemonic designs on the Indo-Pacific will succeed.