Can India turn Quad into an instrument to realize its significant potential as technological power?

News: The Prime Minister of India is going to participate in the Quadrilateral Forum that brings together Delhi, Canberra, Tokyo, and Washington.

The US President will visit Samsung’s semiconductor facility in South Korea during the visit.

This underlines the role of critical technologies in his Indo-Pacific strategy.

Importance of critical technologies

They are key to propelling us into the next era of humanity’s technological development — artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, 5G, and so very much more”.

What are the challenges in front of all the Quad members?

The technology supply chain has disrupted due to the impact of Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the global economy,

Russia’s Ukraine invasion has shaken “the very foundation of the international order”.

Apart from the Russian aggression in Europe, there is an emerging issue of the Chinese challenge in Asia.

The Ukraine crisis has improved US prospects in the Indo-Pacific where China is aggressively asserting itself alarmingly.

For the first time since the Second World War, the US and the West are defending the sovereignty of states in Europe and Asia, while Russia and China are grabbing the territory of other states by force.

Japan and South Korea fear that China may resort to Ukraine-like military aggression against Taiwan and in the disputed islands of the Western Pacific. Therefore, they have started building national defence capabilities, strengthening the alliance with the US, and taking a larger regional role.

What are the indications that the US and other members can help India build its national technological capabilities?

The US and Western countries wish to reorient technology supply chains away from countries that don’t share common values. They want more procurement from their allies and partners across the world.

The recently launched new Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) visualises techno-economic cooperation across the region on fair trade, digital commerce, resilient supply chains, and clean energy among other issues. Progress on many of these fronts depends on technological collaboration between like-minded partners.

The IPEF opens the door for economic re-engagement with Asia in place of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) of which India refused to become part.

Importance of QUAD

The Quad’s having techno-politik nature is about boosting the national capabilities of its members.

The greater technological collaboration between the US and its northeast Asian allies is emerging as a major pillar of Indo-Pacific security. The US is eager to strengthen India’s technological capabilities for the defence and security sector. For example, in the US-India 2+2 dialogue, techno-military cooperation figured prominently.

Similar to AUKUS, and IPEF, the Quad has become the vehicle to shape the techno-politics of the Indo-Pacific. This can lead to advancement in technological collaboration in a wide range of areas. For example, vaccine production, clean energy, biotechnology, cybersecurity, and outer space

The QUAD provides a major opportunity to enhance India’s national technological capabilities. This can be the source of India’s robust security and economic policies.

Way Forward

The Indo-Pacific region requires a “rules-based order”. Its principles may include respect for territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of disputes, and no violent change in national borders.

For example, India strongly believes in the principles of territorial sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes.

In addition, the Quad partners can draw up new rules to govern critical technologies that are rapidly transforming the global economic order and international security politics.

The QUAD members can pool technological resources to promote peace and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific region.

For example, there were reports that India may combine its space and maritime resources with those of the Quad partners which can help members to counter the growing problem of illegal and unregulated fishing in their vast exclusive economic zones.

India needs to create the right internal environment for technological leapfrogging and seize the emerging external opportunities for deeper technological partnerships with the US and the Quad.

Source: The post is based on an article “Can India turn Quad into an instrument to realise its significant potential as technological power?” published in the Indian Express on 24th May 2022.

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