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Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar

Govt sets up division on new and emerging strategic technologies

  • The new division is one of the many specialized desks created in recent years to deal with emerging challenges and scenarios
  • Since the Modi government took office in 2014, the foreign ministry has created a special desk to increase investment coordination between the different states of India and foreign countries

NEW DELHI : With India grappling with issues like the security implications of the introduction of 5G and artificial intelligence, the Indian foreign ministry has announced the setting up of a new division on New and Emerging Strategic Technologies (NEST), a person familiar with the developments said Friday.

The new division is one of the many specialized desks created in recent years to deal with emerging challenges and scenarios. Since the Modi government took office in 2014, the foreign ministry has created a special desk to increase investment coordination between the different states of India and foreign countries. A second to coordinate strategy on the Indo-Pacific region was created recently. Previous governments had set up an energy security division and another to streamline India’s development partnership cooperation with countries besides one to coordinate counter-terrorism strategy.

The NEST division will act as the nodal point in India’s foreign ministry for all matters connected to new and emerging technologies including exchange of views with foreign governments and coordination with domestic ministries and departments. It will also help assess foreign policy and international legal implications of emerging technology and technology-based resources, the person said. The desk will also be involved in negotiations to safeguard Indian interests at multilateral fora like the United Nations or the G20 where rules governing the use and access to such technologies could be decided.

According to officials in the Indian foreign ministry, the staffing of the desk is still to be worked out.

The impact of new and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence on India’s security and economy has been a recurrent theme in speeches made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others. In his speech at the Ramnatha Goenka Memorial lecture in November, foreign minister S Jaishankar had spoken of “technology, connectivity and trade are at the heart of new contestations".

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