Context: India must actively participate in new technology coalitions to secure its geopolitical interests.
Why India needs Tech-coalition?
- Reducing economic and digital dependence on China.
- China’s use of newly acquired technological muscle in support of its expansionist aims.
- To promote and regulate advanced technologies.
- India is also now a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulates the flow of dual-use technologies and the Missile Technology Control Regime.
- The size of India’s market as well as technological capabilities make India an attractive partner in the effort to build “technology coalitions of the capable and willing”.
- Developing trusted global supply chains that are not vulnerable to Beijing’s weaponisation of economic interdependence.
How issue-based coalitions are growing?
- Biden promised to convene a “Democracy Summit” with multiple objectives, including the promotion of human rights and protection of democracies from new digital technologies.
- Britain has been discussing the merits of a “Democracy Ten” that brings India, South Korea and Australia with the G-7 to build telecom products to reduce the current global reliance on China.
- European Union has offered to rebuild the transatlantic alliance with a special focus on technological cooperation.
- France and Canada launched the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to promote responsible development and use of AI. India was among the 15 founding members.
- “Digital Nations” that was founded in 2014 by Britain, Estonia, Israel, South Korea and New Zealand to mobilise digital technologies to enhance the quality of life for their citizens.
- “Artemis Accords” which outline a set of principles for the cooperative and transparent exploration of outer space. The founding members of the Artemis Accords are Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the US.
What are the future prospects for India-USA coalition?
- New presidency in USA: Restoring multilateralism is among Biden’s top priorities.
- USA’s technological objectives: for example, the US negotiated arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, during the Cold War. Also,USA worked in multilateral forums to produce the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and exclusive groupings like the Nuclear Suppliers Group to regulate the flows of civil nuclear technology.
- India’s growing significance: USA devoted much energy to the consolidation of the Quad and idea of a “Quad Plus” to discuss the coordination of national responses to the pandemic.
- Against China’s assertion: USA mobilised allies and partners to shun China’s telecom companies in the rollout of 5G or “fifth-generation” wireless technology and promoted the idea of a coalition of “clean networks”.
- Intelligence sharing: USA expanded the ambit of Five Eyes (US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) by initiating consultation with Japan and India on addressing the tension between encryption, privacy and law enforcement.
What is way forward?
- Appreciate the value of issue-based coalitions in producing more productive outcomes in the technological arena.
- Coalitions will complement India’s traditional focus on multilateralism. For example, International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
- Like-minded countries can come together to cope with emerging global challenges, including the governance of emerging technologies that are reshaping relations within and among societies.