Quadrilateral Economic Forum : Opportunity for Technology Collaboration – UPSC GS2

  • India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have decided to launch a new quadrilateral economic forum.
  • The technology dimension of this partnership promises a far greater potential for collaboration.
How the Quad countries are collaborating with each other on Technology?
  • Israel and UAE’s start-up sectors sign a deal to collaborate on fintech and digital security.  This will create regulatory sandboxes and accelerators for start-ups and provide them with market access opportunities.
  • India and the US have been separately working with the two countries on multiple projects.  For instance, an Israel-based company, specialised in robotic solar cleaning technology, signed an agreement to utilise its manufacturing facility in India for a project in the UAE.
  • Israel, the UAE and the US are collaborating on water and energy projects.
What are the advantages for the Quad countries if engaged in Technology?
  • Can shape an innovation-based partnership, which can conjoin the technology hubs of Silicon Valley, Dubai, Tel Aviv, and Bengaluru,
  • Can focus on emerging technologies according to their respective national priorities,
  • Counter the technological growth of China: By collaborating with Russia, and domestic flagship initiatives like “Made in China 2025”, China reduced the capability gap with the US. With the Quad nation’s shared technological goals, they can utilise each country’s unique advantage for common good.
How do the technological collaborations benefit India?
India can leverage:
  • Silicon Valley’s venture capital funding
  • Tel Aviv’s close-knit organic linkages between start-ups, industry, and academia,
  • UAE’s funding and focus on innovation.
Provide an opportunity for India on transformative technologies: The startup community in the US, Israel and the UAE have already reached an advanced research and development stage on three transformative technologies Quantum science, blockchain, and 3D printing. India can build expertise and offer the scale to the development and applications of these technologies.
For instance,
  • 3D printing: Israel manufactures about 40% of 3D printers worldwide. On the other hand, India is lagging behind the 3D printing bandwagon.
  • Quantum computer: Israel, UAE and the US have made a research on quantum technology a priority. India is catching up with them through National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.
  • Blockchain: India and the UAE can leverage the American and Israeli expertise in cyber and cryptography to craft customised applications for use in banking, fintech and trade financing. This can contribute to reducing administration and transaction costs in India.
What should Quad nations do to strengthen technological collaboration?
  • Add opportunities for scaling up and manufacturing: Indian towns like Bengaluru and Hyderabad that have vibrant technology bases along with multiple defence public sector units and research establishments, private sector companies can be potential towns for such manufacturing.
  • Begin technology cooperation in transformative technologies: Quantum science, blockchain, and 3D printing can be a priority area for the four countries as they offer exciting applications for encrypted communications, cryptography, aerospace engineering, and manufacturing.
  • Their dual-use nature offers the potential to give a technological edge to the four countries’ militaries. This, in turn, can add the security cooperation element to the grouping’s agenda.
  • Plug innovation ecosystems: The new quad nations should broaden the base of cooperation, rather than restrict it to the government-to-government domain. This can be done through seed-funding, academic collaborations, industrial partnerships and MoUs.

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