Global Technology Summit: Jaishankar, UK PM talk about challenges and threats

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Democracies are facing unique challenges from technology and countries will have to find the balance between using technology for progress and tackling vulnerabilities and threats created by it, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday.

India, with its size and ambitions, must have robust reliable national capacities even as it works to forge partnerships with others in the realm of technology, Jaishankar said at the Global Technology Summit organised by the external affairs ministry and Carnegie India.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who delivered a special message at the summit, described the UK and India as natural partners with their shared culture of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. He noted that he and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi had agreed earlier this year to “work closely on technology and the rules that will shape the coming age”.

India and the UK are working together on many projects, including on 5G and telecoms, and Britain is working with the Tata Group and Godrej on green technologies that will power both countries to net zero, Johnson said. Technology is also a key part of the India-UK Roadmap for 2030 and the two sides will help shape a “new technological age based on the principles of freedom, openness and peace”, he added.

Jaishankar described technology as a “double-edged sword” and said, “Democracies in particular are facing some unique challenges stemming from technology.

“As we contemplate the future of technology, the role of innovation, the importance of sustainability and inclusion, and the needs to localise emerging technologies, it is also worthwhile to reflect on the difference that international partnerships make.”

While technology has opened up new vistas of progress, it also helped create greater vulnerabilities and threats, he pointed out. “A recurring theme in global governance has been to find the right balance,” he said.

In a globalised and technology-driven world, the mastering of key domains has become an expression of power and technology is now a “metric to measure a nation’s standing like never before”, Jaishankar said.

With the growing importance of technology, it is important to ascertain whether the technology is “trusted, transparent, reliable and resilient”, he noted.

“A country with the size of ours and with the potential and ambitions that we have, it cannot be that we do not have robust reliable national capacities, which are continuously upgraded,” Jaishankar said. “If you are open to a point where those capacities get hollowed out…it actually makes you a less effective player.”

The number one purpose for technology partnerships for India is to increase capabilities, and at the same time, the country needs to continuously strengthen its domestic supply chains. “We cannot have economic growth without these strengths and without commensurate employment growth. Jobles

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