Published on - December 14, 2021
Issue related to India & its Bilateral Relations
Source: The Indian Express
The author talks about the deepening cooperation between India & Britain.
Dynamics in the India-Britain ties:
- Britain's ties with India never have looked as promising as today.
- However, still, bilateral relations remain buried in the past.
- Further, Britain’s advocacy of Pakistan has always irritated India’s foreign policy community.
- Even the Indian political class revels in bashing Britain.
- India’s current regime has been ensuring that India is dealing with Britain as an equal rather than as a colony.
- Further as per IMF projections, India is set to overtake Britain in aggregate GDP rankings in a year or two.
- Currently, India is ignoring the UK’S claim for a special role in India-Pakistan disputes.
- However, India recognizes the enormous strategic possibilities with Britain & is willing to invest political capital to build on those synergies.
- Currently, India is focusing on reducing the traditional negative elements in the engagement with the UK.
- India wanted to replicate with the UK, the diplomatic success in getting the US, Saudi & UAE to put India first in their South Asian policies.
- Further, the steady decline of Pakistan & India’s deepening strategic partnership with the USA is also encouraging Britain to rethink its approach to the Indian subcontinent.
- Though a trade agreement between India & Britain is imminent, it is the technological domain that the prospects are immense but under-explored.
Why India needs the UK for Technological Cooperation?
India’s closest friend Russia lags behind the Western powers in civilian technologies but remains a major force in defence technologies.
Though China has risen to the ranks of technological powers, the expansionist policies of China have put it at odds with not only the West but also India.
Therefore the United Kingdom forms the missing link in India’s technological mind space.
Prospects of UK:
- Britain was the 1st nation to industrialize and has a long tradition of scientific research & technological development.
- Britain is one of the world’s top technology powers because of possesses top-ranking universities & the golden triangle of science & innovation (London, Oxford & Cambridge).
- In the recent world’s cyber power index, Britain is ranked third, while India stands at 21.
- Further, in the WIPO’s Global Innovation Index, Britain ranked 4th & India ranked 46th.
- Because of the above prospects, India could gain in a technology partnership with Britain.
Why Britain needs India as a Partner?
After Brexit, Britain is looking for solid international partners to retain its position at the top of the global order.
Against this context, stronger ties with India have become a major political & economic priority for the UK under the current regime.
The Technological Cooperation: The need of the hour
Around the world, there is an endless debate on the massive implications of the unfolding technological revolution.
However, only a few nations have laid out ambitious policy goals in harnessing it.
While the UK announced a raft of measures on Space, IT & S&T policy.
Indian strategic community lacks sufficient awareness of Britain’s' focus on science & technology measures.
Britain is going to announce its new cyber strategy in 2022 with the following broad themes:
- Leverage technology to level up the regional and social inequalities in Britain.
- Ensure Britain’s privileged position as a leading science power.
- Focus on technological innovation to drive Britain’s future economic growth.
- Build internal security resilience against new technological threats.
- Modernize the intelligence apparatus with the help of new technologies.
- Integrate technology into the national defence strategy as new capabilities like AI become as consequential as battle tanks, ships, and fighter jets.
- Project technological power to counter malevolent actors in the international system.
- It wants to build a coalition of like-minded countries to reshape the global governance of technology by strengthening technological ties with the traditionally close partners in the Anglo-sphere as well as with Japan and India.
For India, the essence of the new alliance with Britain is fourfold from Generating domestic prosperity to enhancing national security to climbing up the global technology hierarchy & finally contributing to a free, open & democratic global technological order.