The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has set up a new, emerging and strategic technologies (NEST) division. The new division will be one point of contact within the ministry to deal with issues like new and emerging technologies.
As per a report in the Economic Times, NEST will help the country to partner with other countries in the areas of 5G and artificial intelligence. Notably, the announcement coinciding with the central government allowing major network equipment makers, along with Huawei who have been accused of sharing data of its billions of customers with the Chinese government to participate in 5G trials.
Roles and Responsibilities of NEST
The NEST is empowered to formulate India's external technology policy in coordination with domestic stakeholders which are in line with India's developmental priorities and national security goals. Moreover, the division will also assist in evaluating foreign policy and international legal implications of new and emerging technologies and technology-based resources. It will also recommend a suitable foreign policy choice. Further, in multilateral and plurilateral frameworks, it will negotiate technology governance rules, standards, and architecture that are best suited for India's condition.
Another important function of the NEST would include creating an HR capacity within the ambit of ministry for technology diplomacy work. This would be done with the utilization of existing talent-pool and facilitating the functional specialization of Foreign Service officers in various technology domains. Foreign minister S Jaishankar, in his recent address at the Ramnath Goenka Memorial lecture, had said, "technology, connectivity, and trade are at the heart of new contestations".
The central government has been quick on adopting the new technologies and the development has come at the time when the reports have suggested that the Indians are among the most optimistic about new technology. As per a poll conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Indian participants argued that technology makes personal relationships, society, and jobs better vis-à-vis their peers. Besides, the Indians also showed greater faith in climate scientists and international organizations than other people who participated in the poll from other regions. Riding of the cheapest data price, internet connectivity has penetrated to most areas of the country in recent times.