Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India

12/08/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/07/2019 21:58

EAM’s remarks at the 4th Global Technology Summit

I'm delighted to speak to you all on the occasion of the fourth Global Technology Summit. The Ministry of External Affairs has been partnering the Carnegie Endowment for some years, in this regard. And we are very privileged to work with you again. This year, the theme of the conference is the future of data and I believe that there would be no subject more appropriate at this point of time. As External Affairs Minister who is leading the country's foreign policy into a digital era, I think the challenges presented by technology are something that not just the professional diplomats but analysts, and in many ways the larger community, the tech community has to address very seriously. Obviously, from the foreign policy perspective, digital era means a different method of communication and in many ways, perhaps even the agenda for a digital era is very different where foreign policy is concerned as compared to what you might call the analog in our foreign policy. Now, some of it is very obvious. I mean clearly digital technology can be used for development, we see that happening. It is happening in society, the fact that so many of you have come to an event like this, itself is a change in a bit. In our own country Bengaluru is the symbol of that change. Bengaluru is really a digital city in many ways. But digital tools and digital practices are also very key for governance. They are particularly important if the development strategy is focused on leapfrogging. It's also very useful for a country, for a society whose resources are limited and therefore has to optimize those resources, I think it's best done digitally. Now there's a consequence to that and the consequence ofcourse is what we see around us which is a growing emphasis on human resources. The fact that today we are increasingly talking of a knowledge driven economy; in many ways, a knowledge driven society, knowledge driven polity, and I dare say knowledgedriven foreign policy as well. Now, what are the challenges that from the foreign policy side we see?

Part of it is, of course, issues relating to data privacy; and here what are the best practices of the world and how do we contribute in different ways to the formulation of our own regulations and rules in this subject. There are naturally concerns about data security. I think today when we speak of national security, data security is a very important part of national security. Another very natural outcome, of course, is the commercialization of data, the monetization of data. And the fact that when we speak of trade, we speak even of investment, we speak of technology partnerships,lot of these are going to revolve around data.And the country which uses these the best, in many ways would actually be the most powerful economic player in the international system. So, if we look at data; there's the term data is the new oil but I would say actually data is the new influence, in many ways. And these will be the big debates and I think part of the big debates as in other aspects of foreign policies. Do you allow the countries which have early leads to retain those leads or do you compete with those countries and what do we do to set ourselves up in a leadership position? If our aspiration is to be a leading power one day, we have to be a leading power in also harnessing data. So, these are some of the issues I think today which confront India. I am very glad that you will be debating these and other aspects of the digital era that we have entered. I convey my best wishes. I would have liked very much to be with you today but in not being able to do so, a digital presence perhaps is a good way of conveying my support for this conference.

Thank you very much!