S Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, spoke of India’s “tough experiences” as a result of the sanctions put in place after the nuclear test of 1974 and said that the nation’s technological potential would be constrained if all decisions were influenced by historical occurrences.
NEW DELHI: At a time when people are increasingly more conscious of how their data is processed and managed, the government’s priority on managing digital problems is achieving the proper balance between ease of doing business, privacy, and national security, said external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday.
Jaishankar stated in his keynote speech at the Global Technology Summit 2022 that India shouldn’t restrict its opportunities in the rapidly evolving field of emerging technology only because of the nation’s “tough experiences” in the past owing to US-imposed sanctions. He emphasised that the US is now India’s “most vociferous champion” for joining important agreements like the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) (MTCR).
“The Indian system today is attempting to strike a compromise between national security, privacy, and convenience of conducting business online. The…appropriate blend must be found,” Jaishankar added.
There is a draught law that will be the subject of discussions and debates, including in Parliament. While individuals will have their opinions, the government will work to strike the correct balance, he added. According to him, the need of trustworthy and open partners is growing as people become more conscious of concerns like where their data is being held and who is processing it.
Jaishankar pointed to India’s “tough experiences” as a result of the restrictions put in place following the nuclear test of 1974 and claimed that the nation’s technological potential will be constrained if all decisions are influenced by historical happenings.
He pointed out that the US is currently the “most forceful advocate” for India joining the NSG, MTCR, Australia Group (which regulates the spread of chemical and biological weapons), and the Wassenaar Arrangement while acknowledging that no agreement or assurance between sovereign states “can ever give you permanent comfort on an uncaveated basis” (which controls exports of conventional arms and dual-use goods).
International connections, according to him, are all about establishing bonds, creating norms, and having the capacity to cooperate in a fundamentally competitive environment. In this connection, he made reference to Foxconn and Vedanta’s deal to manufacture semiconductors as well as India’s participation in the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF).
In his remarks at the technology conference, which has been co-hosted by Carnegie India and the external affairs ministry every year since 2016, Jaishankar also emphasised six topics.
He claimed that decisions made by the nation have geopolitical ramifications and that technology is not neutral. We need to stop acting as though technology is impartial, he continued. Data is the “new oil,” and it’s important to recognise how strongly political some technologies are.
According to him, there is currently a real dispute between collaborative globalisation and one that is dominated by a few number of actors. Globalization is all about the economics, technology, and mobility. The Westphalian paradigm of relationships is no longer valid, and in the world of technology, openness and trust are essential.
The “Nagoya model” of supply chain collaboration is being questioned, and in the age of Covid-19, conflict, and climate change, resiliency and dependability are crucial. The “Atmanirbhar Bharat” project is crucial for strategic autonomy in a world of civil-military fusion, he claimed. The meaning of strategic technology has also evolved.
Geopolitics essentially boils down to partners and options, and for India, the most important technology partners are those who grant access, offer markets, and collaborate, according to Jaishankar.