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Technology no longer agnostic, has strong political connotation

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said the rise of India was deeply linked with the rise of Indian technology and the country cannot remain agnostic to the developments in the sector that has acquired strong political connotation.

Speaking at the Global Technology Summit here, he said India would like to use its G-20 Presidency to reflect the interests and concerns of the global south that have been sidelined over the years.

“The rise of India is deeply linked to the rise of Indian technology. It could be semiconductors, it could be 5G, artificial intelligence, commercial space launches, satellite fabrication,” Jaishankar said.

He said technology should be given substantial weight in deciding India’s geopolitical positioning as it would play a key role in striking alliances in a multipolar world.

“We cannot be agnostic about technology. We have to stop thinking that there is something neutral about technology…more and more things are technology driven and we need to understand that there is a very strong political connotation in-built into technology,” Jaishankar said.

He said the principle of economic strategic autonomy will hold the key to global rebalancing and big players will constantly strive to be more capable technologically.

“We, especially in India in the last two years, have woken up to the fact, where does our data reside? Who processes and harvests our data and what do they do with it? That is a very very key question,” Jaishnakar said.

Jaishnakar said that it was important to look at the quality of partners and the sociology partners that India has in the arena of technological and strategic spheres.

Recounting his interaction with his counterparts in Africa and Latin America, Jaishankar said there has been a lot of interest in the digitally-enabled delivery platforms developed by India in the global south.

“We have broken the presumption that social security is actually a wealthy society’s prerogative,” he said, citing the initiative taken by the government to distribute free food grains to 80 crore poor and direct benefit transfer to 45 crore beneficiaries.

“Certainly, India would like to use its G-20 presidency to reflect the interests and concerns of the global south because we feel that these have been sidelined. We would like to take to the global south what we have performed and delivered at home,” Jaishankar said.

The three-day Global Technology Summit is co-hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs and Carnegie India.

The theme for the seventh edition of the Summit this year is ‘Geopolitics of Technology’.  PTI

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