From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 2- A collaborative tech vision for India, UAE, ISRAEL and the US
Last month’s meeting between the foreign ministers of India, the US, Israel, and the UAE has set foreign policy circles in India abuzz with talks of the potential emergence of another quadrilateral grouping or as analysts term it, a “new Quad”.
Significance of the new Quad meeting
- Collaboration in various areas: The grouping discussed technology collaboration along with the joint infrastructure projects in transportation, enhancing political and economic cooperation and maritime security matters.
- Forum for economic cooperation: They have agreed to set up an international forum for economic cooperation.
- Collaboration on technology: Amongst all the issues discussed, the technology dimension of this partnership promises a far greater potential for collaboration.
- The four countries are uniquely placed to shape an innovation-based partnership, which can conjoin the technology hubs of Silicon Valley, Dubai, Tel Aviv, and Bengaluru.
- Such potential collaboration can benefit from the existing robust cooperation between these countries.
- Collaboration in fintech: The agreement between Start-Up Nation Central, an Israeli non-profit that connects the tech ecosystem, and Dubai International Financial Centre, the UAE’s financial hub, will create regulatory sandboxes and accelerators for start-ups and provide them with market access opportunities.
- India and the US have been separately working with the two countries on multiple projects.
New Quad’s technology cooperation
- Tech-based collaboration: Given the synergies in the innovation and startup sector, it is logical that the “new Quad” works towards tech-based collaboration.
- The agenda for the new Quad’s technology cooperation can begin by selecting three technologies — quantum science, blockchain, and 3D printing.
- Collaboration in quantum technology: Israel and the US, too, have made research on quantum technology a priority by allocating $91 million and $1.2 billion respectively to this sector.
- India is also fast catching up through its National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications and joining hands with countries like France to work on this technology.
- Collaboration in the blockchain: in blockchain, India and the UAE can leverage the American and Israeli expertise in cyber and cryptography to craft customised applications for use in banking, fintech and trade financing.
- Collaboration in 3-D printing: In 3D printing, which promises to transform the manufacturing process radically, Israel has taken the lead in manufacturing about 40 per cent of 3D printers worldwide.
- India, in contrast, has been slow in getting onto the 3D printing bandwagon. But it can certainly benefit from the expertise of the US, Israel and the UAE.
- Opportunity for India: From the Indian perspective, such partnerships can leverage Silicon Valley’s venture capital funding, Tel Aviv’s close-knit organic linkages between start-ups, industry, and academia, and UAE’s funding and focus on innovation.
- To this mix, Bengaluru — and potentially Hyderabad — can add opportunities for scaling up and manufacturing.
- The startup community in the US, Israel and the UAE have already reached an advanced research and development stage providing an opportunity for India to build expertise and offer the scale to the development and applications of these technologies.
- Security cooperation: The collaborative and customisation possibilities offered by these technologies and their dual-use nature offers the potential to give a technological edge to the four countries’ militaries.
- This, in turn, can add the security cooperation element to the grouping’s agenda.
- Broaden the base: If the four countries plug their innovation ecosystems in this collaboration to shortlist, fund and develop technologies, it will also help to broaden the base of cooperation for this grouping, rather than restrict it to the government-to-government domain.
- Government push will be the essential catalyst to unlock this space for cooperation through seed-funding, academic collaborations, industrial partnerships and MoUs.
- China factor: By collaborating with Russia, and domestic flagship initiatives like “Made in China 2025”, Beijing has pursued emerging technologies and successfully reduced the capability gap with Washington.
- These developments make it imperative for the US, Israel, UAE, and India to strengthen their newly established cooperation.
Each country with its unique advantage in the field of science and technology, innovation and start-ups can make a significant contribution to advance shared technological goals.