The country demonstrates scale in vaccine production and digital economy
India gains recognition as the world’s pharmacy and will continue to manage the pandemic’s impact on health and economy. The role of the private sector in diplomacy of science and economy has been highlighted by both medical and digital competencies. Science and economic diplomacy are the two pillars that the government is likely to leverage in execution of foreign policy.
In both vaccine production and transition to digital economy, the country has demonstrated scale and has provided ready learning to many economies. Vaccine rollout and digital economy are predictably going to remain the two big issues in 2021. Paypal CEO, Daniel Schulman reckons that Covid-19 pandemic accelerated digitisation by three to five years, in the last year alone.
An important example is that of Japan, the country which is keen to learn from the India Stack (Aadhaar, Jandhan and UPI) for replicating a digital economy via the newly formed division for digital transformation under Minister Hirai. To cooperate across 5G, telecom security, submarine optical fibre cable and smart cities, spectrum management, high altitude platform for broadband in unconnected areas, disaster management and public safety, the Indian Communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and the Japanese minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Takeda Ryota signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this month.
Especially through private and public sectors collaboration, connectivity is emerging as a defining feature of the economy in 21st century. This not only includes physical connectivity (optical fibre cables, aviation and railways) but also digital connectivity as the world exponentially moves towards hyper-connectivity with machines (IoT) and AI.
A launch of approximately 20,000 satellites will be seen in the coming years. This will augment 5G and enable the next wave in human and machine connectivity and automation through hyper-connectivity.
Independent decisions to permit and regulate private sector’s space activities will be taken by the newly formed Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) under the Department of Space. Geospatial services, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, Satellite Constellation and Application products are the proposed space activities.
Recently MoS for Department of Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh shared that 25 industries approached the department for space activities. Applications of space technology include railways, road and bridge construction, agriculture, housing, tele-medicine, disaster management and accurate weather forecast.
It has become feasible to compete with 5G and fibre rollouts by the innovations in Space communication and cost reduction.
The dynamics is changing by the entry of the private sector into the space connectivity race.
3,236 satellite constellations for internet connectivity will be launched by Amazon’s BlueOrigin. For connecting remote locations, airlines, and replacing inter-continental fibres, SpaceX (Elon Musk) has launched Starlink (some 12,000 satellites). OneWeb recently recovered from bankruptcy to UK government and a major investment by the Bharti group is launching up to 2,000 satellites.
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