The Ministry of External Affairs in January 2020 announced the setting up a New, Emerging and Strategic Technologies (NEST) division. The development came around the government allowing all network equipment makers, including Huawei, to participate in 5G trials. Speaking about it, foreign minister S Jaishankar had said that “technology, connectivity and trade are at the heart of new contestations”. Many of the new and emerging technologies have significant implications for diplomacy, national security, and global rule-making. The division will work to increase investment coordination among the states of the country and also with the foreign countries.
Key provisions of NEST:
·NEST will act as the nodal division within the ministry for issues pertaining to new and emerging technologies.
·It will also help assess foreign policy and international legal implications of emerging technology and technology-based resources, the person said.
·The desk will also be involved in negotiations to safeguard Indian interests at multilateral fora like the United Nations or the G20, where rules governing the use and access to such technologies could be decided.
·It involves evolving India’s external technology policy in coordination with domestic stakeholders and in line with India's developmental priorities and national security goals.
·NEST will negotiate technology governance rules, standards and architecture, suited to India’s conditions, in multilateral and plural frameworks.
·It will also undertake creation of HR capacity within the ministry for technology diplomacy work by utilising the existing talent-pool.
The impact of new and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) on India’s security and economy has been a recurrent theme in speeches made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others.