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Digital Non-Alignment

Digital Non-Alignment

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus: GENERAL STUDIES-2-Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Digital Non-Alignment

  • The United States’ blacklisting of the Chinese company Huawei (since reversed) represents an important milestone as the world splits digitally around its two digital superpowers, the US and China.
  • Last year, the US disallowed Alibaba’s takeover of Moneygram and later embargoed US supplies to the mobile company ZTE. Amazon and Google recently affirmed their loyalty to the US military.
  • China’s corporations in any case closely follow the State’s directions. This is a greater issue.

Issues:

  • Global digital offerings would increasingly organise, and split, around the two global digital poles of US and China. 
  • They are also becoming more integrated right from computing chips, network equipment and user devices to software, applications and AI. 
  • Every other country will have to choose between the two digital superpowers as its primary digital supplier, and get increasingly locked into it.

What is needed:

  • Countries like India should explore the combination of a geopolitical approach of digital non-alignment, with a practical one of diligently promoting open digital value chains.
  • Digital non-alignment implies deliberate economic and political investments to avoid getting too closely hooked to either of the digital superpower’s digital products and services. Its technical, policy-legal and business model complement is to establish open digital value chains.
  • Vertical integrations must be checked through open technical standards, strong competition regulation, and other policies like mandating data sharing. This will require close cooperation among the digitally non-aligned countries, including, European nations.
  • What is required is a strong and clear-headed digital industrial policy, which aims foremost at the layer of highest value: data. 
  • After all, the most important data needed to manage various sectors in India is local . This provides the basis for claiming legal ownership over such data, and channelling it for development of Indian digital industry. 
  • India’s draft e-commerce policy attempts precisely that through the concepts of community data and national data. It also proposes adequate legal and technical frameworks to make such data available for India’s digital development.
  • Policy environment should create the space and basis for negotiating on better terms with foreign technical service-providers, and in a manner that develops our capabilities, and enables India to keep graduating higher in digital value chains.

The way forward:

After establishing more open digital businesses domestically, India can also develop a global niche.

SOURCE:” Hindustan Times.”

POSSIBLE UPSC MAINS EXAMINATION:

Global digital offerings would increasingly organise, and split, around the two global digital poles of US and China. In this context how could India stay digitally non-aligned?