India aspires to become a $5 trillion economy over the next few years, and it is being increasingly recognised as one of the leading economies in the world. India has also committed itself to a bold goal of net zero emissions by 2070. Sustainability is, therefore, critical in all policy initiatives, and technology leadership is going to be the primary gateway to achieve sustainable development.
Indeed, three key imperatives to achieve these aspirational targets are: leadership in the technology, innovation and research, which would imply a massive investment by our country in these areas; synergy among the country’s industry and academic institutions; and collaborating with other nations with a proven track record of nurturing an effective Innovation ecosystem.
The above three areas were discussed and deliberated at DST-CII-MIT India Singapore Technology Summit which provided a plethora of opportunities for India and Singapore to take up together in various sectors of technology, innovation and research.
Global tech hub
Singapore is a global hub of technology and finance, and its transition into an innovation and digital economy is exemplary. India and Singapore, as nations, already have a strategic partnership in the areas of technology, human development and many multifaceted bilateral matters. This strategic partnership in technology, innovation and research between the nations was also amply demonstrated during the pandemic.
There is however a need to make further interventions in more areas of strategic importance for the two countries.
Clean technologies: India is targeting a key milestone to increase the renewable energy component to 50 per cent of the total energy requirements by 2030. Singapore also has ambitious carbon mitigation plans and hence co-innovation in this domain could boost the move towards a green economy, especially through the energy and transportation sectors.
Both India and Singapore are progressively improving their respective charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and the domain offers ample opportunities for collaboration.
Healthcare transformation: India is working on the “Genome India Project” with the aim to collect 10,000 genetic samples from citizens across India to build a reference genome. Through whole-genome sequencing, the project would build an exhaustive catalog of genetic variation for the Indian population and open new areas for advancing next-generation precision medicine.
Similarly, Singapore too has embarked on the ambitious task of mapping Asian genomes. There is a huge scope of collaboration for India and Singapore to share data and research to shorten the learning curve and develop innovative solutions in the domain of genome and bioinformatics.
Technologies for a circular economy: India and Singapore must work on generating innovative solutions to mitigate the challenges of logistics and supply chain, mobility and transportation, water management, waste management and infrastructure to truly move towards circularity.
Deep technologies: Artificial intelligence, internet of things, machine learning and fintech can be leveraged by the manufacturing industries of India and Singapore to automate processes for better urban planning of cities envisioned around citizens.
In order to achieve leadership in technology, Innovation and research, while India has a lot of ground to cover, it has the human capital to do so. Leveraging global collaborations with strong industry, academia and government partnerships, like the one with Singapore, will be of immense importance.
This will encourage, develop, and facilitate collaborative projects in fields of mutual interest. Overall, the leadership in technology, innovation and research is critical to catapult India into sustainable growth, thereby creating genuine wealth for the country.
The article first appeared in The Business Line on 15 March 2022.