“Geopolitics ultimately comes down to partners and choices. For India, who gives access; who provides markets and who collaborates are the key criteria,” said S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister at a summit in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Jaishankar, speaking during the inaugural conversation of the summit, ‘Geo-Digital & its Effects’, essentially said India’s tech policy going forward would be shaped by its partners and their choices — who opens their markets to the country, which is slowly positioning itself as a semiconductor hub through the Semiconductor India Mission; who gives access to knowledge and tech talent; and who collaborate with India in achieving its vision of being a global tech player.
Jaishankar made a case for a holistic globalisation with participation from all countries, rather than one whose vision is driven by a few rich countries.
“The broader context of globalisation is about economy, technology and mobility. The real debate today is between collaborative globalisation and one dominated by a few,” Jaishankar said.
The foreign minister then put it in plain words: “My definition of our long-term partnerships is really where our technologies and our capabilities will grow, which means who gives you access and business.”
Further, Jaishankar also appeared to aim an oblique rebuke at the West over recent criticism of India buying Russian oil — the Centre had stood firmly by its choice, saying it will do whatever it takes to ensure Indians’ interests are protected
, no matter the geopolitical ramifications.
“India’s geopolitical positioning would be a net assessment of politics of energy; economics and technological interests, amongst others,” Jaishankar said — meaning, India and its interests first.
This is seen in the recent amendments to the data protection bill, which require all social media intermediaries to comply with appellate tribunal rulings on user accounts' suspension.
The foreign minister said building deep, strategic, technological strengths is the only way to rebalance world power. “Technology is not agnostic. Our choices have strategic implications,” Jaishankar said, referring to the country’s tech policy and how it will affect geopolitics in the region.
How India has been making geo political positioning with tech assessments
Last December, India — in a move to help out automakers to tackle the chip crisis — approved a Rs 76,000 crore semiconductor incentive scheme. Under the design-linked incentive scheme, 50 percent of the design expenditure is to be borne by the government. Additionally, the government will provide a 6 percent incentive on incremental sales; 6 percent will taper over 5 years to 4 percent.
Further, according to a joint study by the Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) and Counterpoint Research, India’s semiconductor market, pegged at $119 billion in 2021, will grow at a compounded annual rate of 19 percent to $300 billion by 2026, a joint study by claims.
The study also found that India is poised to be the second largest market in the world from the perspective of scale and growing demand for semiconductor components across several industries and applications.
The government is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to become a world semiconductor hub — from the PLI scheme to aggressively wooing the Indian diaspora
, inviting them to invest in the Semiconductor India Programme and promising them minimum hassle.
Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar had assured overseas investors that they need not be concerned of execution risks and tariffs as the “government will handhold them.”
Jaishankar said this is part of a global paradigm shift in which governments are increasingly offering support to the private sector in order to boost their country’s technological backbone.
Increasing connectivity, geopolitical competition, technological innovation, and the private sector's evolving role all affect business leadership and decision-making. Basically, emerging technologies in particular have become both an object and a driver of international cooperation and competition, shaping the global landscape in different and sometimes unexpected ways and India has been trying to tap into the potential of the same.
“We are looking at a world where, whether it’s technology or energy, governments are getting more interventionist and are giving greater support in different ways, creating stronger enabling environments in their respective societies,” he said.
Geopolitics and technology are inextricably linked in today's geostrategic environment. As a result of government policies favouring self-sufficiency and self-reliance in key technologies, technology regulations are being changed, geostrategic competition is increasing, and COVID-19 is bringing a number of long-term changes, the minister added