India US Collaboration in 6G Tech to Deliver Dividends for Everybody
India and the United States have formed a critical alliance at the G20 2023 summit to bring 6G technology to the fore. This collaboration marks a milestone on the way to a next-generation wireless network that aims to deliver high-speed Internet, better coverage, and global connectivity. Through the partnership, the focus shifted from mere technological progress to the realms of green technology. Green technologies have ushered in a new era of energy efficiency through the India-US alliance in 6G tech.
In an increasingly digital world, telecom infrastructure security is not just about data; it's a matter of national security. This infrastructure relies on a global supply chain, making it nearly impossible for any country to be completely self-sufficient. Securing the telecommunications infrastructure is, therefore, a challenging task. India promoted Atmanirbharta (self-reliance), while the US adopted friend-shoring.
The world order is undergoing a significant transformation and is witnessing power shifts, more specifically in who gets the latest technologies and who shapes their use for both civilian and military purposes. Technological progress has always played a key role in global power dynamics, but in 21st century geopolitics, the complexity of versatile technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) leads to unimaginable opportunities and risks. Technology governance is a matter of serious debate across all multilateral and bilateral engagements. India's G20 presidency and growing synergy with the global West puts it in an enviable position to engage with the United States and other like-minded countries to shape the contours of 21st century techno-geopolitics. Looming non-military concerns such as the impact of climate change also require countries like India and the US to work together to develop and deploy cutting-edge clean and renewable technologies. The India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership and Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP) reflect the commitment of both sides to promote cooperation in emerging technologies to mitigate climate change, including green hydrogen and offshore and onshore wind energy.
The decision that India and the US have made towards cooperation and collaboration in shaping a future influenced by responsibly developed and deployed technology will be crucial in times to come. The opportunities and risks associated with emerging technologies will largely shape the contours of the India-U.S. partnership for global good. Central to this partnership is how both democracies can combine vision and strength to help navigate the implications of this new technological environment. In the face of China's ambitions and commitment of resources to dominate the production and use of technology, there is a consequent synergy between the mature US technology ecosystem and the potential inherent in India's dynamic technology sector.
Telecommunication Infrastructure & Global Supply Chain
Technologies are moving forward at an incredible pace. Recently, the focus has shifted from technology and economics to trust and standards. This is because of how geopolitics around the world is evolving; trust, or the lack of it, has become a major factor. As everything becomes digitized, the trust factor and security of the telecommunication infrastructure becomes not only a matter of data security but, ultimately, a matter of national security. It relies on electronics and products manufactured through a global supply chain. It is almost impossible for one country to be 100 percent self-sufficient. Therefore, it is extremely challenging to protect the telecommunications infrastructure.
As a result, countries like India have switched to self-reliance, and countries like the US have adopted policies like 'friend-shoring.' All of these shifts are underway as we speak. 6G is the next generation, which makes preparation not only in terms of technological economics and production but also in terms of trust and supply chain all the more important. These foundations need to be laid today.
Intelligence will be at the core of 6G and will be powered by software, artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and algorithms. Such intelligence will improve network configurability and interoperability. Collaboration between academia, industry, startups, society, and government is essential to achieve the required level of flexibility and adaptability. In this regard, the alliance between Bharat 6G and the Next G alliance in the United States is a major step in the right direction.
Advantages for OTT
India's growing importance in the digital and data landscape. India has emerged as a key player that includes OTT (over-the-top) players and equipment providers. Kapoor emphasized the importance of interoperability and collaboration between stakeholders. The alliance with the United States is seen as a catalyst for bringing the various stakeholders closer together. The ultimate goal is to create universally accepted standards for 6G, ensuring that the technology benefits everyone, transcending borders and nationalities.
India is a substantial part—a major player in digital and data for all stakeholders, be it OTT players or device providers. Where we are today with the force we have created, I think it will be a joint effort, and India will have a say. I am happy that India is joining the US, but more stakeholders will come together for interoperability. Everyone will participate, and eventually, there will be standards that will evolve around everyone being good. It cannot be that one country is good or two countries are good. 6G will eventually pay dividends for everyone.
Bharat 6G Alliance
Communications, Electronics, and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced the launch of the Bharat 6G Alliance, a ground-breaking initiative to launch the next-generation technology in India after the successful implementation of 5G. The Bharat 6G Alliance brings together key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, as well as other departments, with the common goal of advancing telecommunication technologies and supporting 6G development in the country.
Apart from the Bharat 6G Alliance, the government plans to introduce a new wave of telecom reforms in the coming weeks. The anticipated arrival of 6G is set to revolutionize communications by providing speeds nearly 100 times faster than 5G, opening up exciting possibilities for the development of new communications applications.
Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan hailed India's success in rapidly rolling out 5G networks and setting up an impressive Rs 2.70 lakh crore in nine months. This achievement underscores India's commitment to technological advancement and lays a solid foundation for 6G implementation. With the 6G vision gathering momentum and the launch of the Bharat 6G Alliance, India is poised to be a frontrunner in the global race to harness the potential of next-generation telecommunications. The country's proactive approach and focus on innovation promise to shape the future of connectivity, driving economic growth and social development.