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India-UK Technological Ties

  Jan 14, 2022

India-UK Technological Ties

Q Why is it in News ?

A When India thinks of technological cooperation with major powers, the US, Europe and Japan come to mind. The missing link in India’s technological mind space, however, is the United Kingdom.

Q How India can benefit from technology partnership with Britain ?

  • Britain was the first nation to industrialise and has a long tradition of scientific research and technological development.
  • With top-ranking universities and the golden triangle of science and innovation — London, Oxford and Cambridge — Britain is one of the world’s top technology powers.
  • WIPO ranking: This year, the World Intellectual Property Organisation ranked Britain fourth in the global innovation index.
  • India is far behind at the 46th position.
  • India, then, could gain in a technology partnership with Britain.

Q What is overview of the India-UK bilateral ties ?

  • Pakistan angle: India’s foreign policy community can’t shake off the Pakistan prism in viewing London.
  • To be sure, London’s advocacy of Pakistan has always irritated Delhi.
  • Instead of complaining about London’s South Asian policy, Delhi now simply ignores London’s claims for a special role in India’s political disputes with Pakistan.
  • By focusing on the positive, Delhi is betting it can reduce the traditional negative elements in the engagement with the UK.
  • At the same time, Delhi recognises the enormous strategic possibilities with Britain and is willing to invest political capital to build on those synergies.
  • Meanwhile, the steady relative decline of Pakistan — its economy is now about a tenth of India’s — and Delhi’s deepening strategic partnership with Washington are also encouraging London to rethink its past approach to the Subcontinent.
  • India is fully conscious of UK’s enduring global salience.
  • External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has often highlighted Britain’s continuing weight in the world as the fifth-largest economy, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a major financial centre, and a leading hub of higher education and technology.
  • Britain also enjoys a global maritime reach and a measure of political influence across the world.

Q What are possibilities for partnership in the technological domain ?

  • While a trade agreement between Delhi and London is said to be imminent, it is in the technological domain that the prospects are immense but under-explored.
  • There is insufficient awareness in India’s strategic community of the British moves to put science and technology at the very heart of its political, economic, security and foreign policies.
  • London announced a raft of measures this year starting with a major report on “Global Britain in a Competitive Age: An Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development, and Foreign Policy”.
  • One of the broad themes stand out from these initiatives, which is forming a coalition of like-minded countries.
  • London wants to build a coalition of like-minded countries to reshape the global governance of technology.
  • This includes strengthening technological ties with the traditionally close partners in the Anglosphere — US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — as well as other partners like Japan and India.
  • All these elements of British policy mesh with India’s own economic, political, and security interests.
  • The British technology initiatives are also aligned with the technological agenda of the Quad — or the Quadrilateral forum that brings together Australia, India, Japan, and the US.
  • For India, the essence of the new alliance with Britain is fourfold — generate domestic prosperity, enhance national security, climb up the global technology hierarchy, and contribute to the construction of a free, open, and democratic global technological order.