A Tech Alliance - What Quad's Working Group On Critical Technologies Means

A Tech Alliance - What Quad's Working Group On Critical Technologies MeansFlags of Quad countries 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated, along with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and President of U.S.A. Joseph R. Biden, in the first Leaders’ Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework, held virtually on 12 March 2021.

The Leaders discussed regional and global issues of shared interest, and exchanged views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The Summit provided an opportunity to exchange views on contemporary challenges such as resilient supply chains, emerging and critical technologies, maritime security, and climate change.

While recognising that a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific requires that critical and emerging technology is governed and operates according to shared interests and values, the leaders of Quad countries have decided to convene a Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group.

The US which described China as a strategic rival in its National Security Strategy, views the rising dominance of China in critical and emerging technologies as a severe threat in the long run.

To curtail China’s threat, the erstwhile administration in the US led by President Trump identified and listed 20 Chinese companies, including Huawei Technologies, as controlled by the military regime in Beijing.

In June 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the US announced that it is designating Chinese companies Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. as national security threats.

Also amid a severe shortage of semiconductors in the USA and consequent closure of numerous companies, this decision to form a working group gains significance.

Some of the objectives of the planned working group on critical and emerging technologies include:

  • Develop a statement of principles on technology design, development, and use;

  • Facilitate coordination on technology standards development, including between our national technology standards bodies and working with a broad range of partners;

  • Encourage cooperation on telecommunications deployment, diversification of equipment suppliers, and future telecommunications, including through close cooperation with our private sectors and industry;

  • Facilitate cooperation to monitor trends and opportunities related to developments in critical and emerging technology, including biotechnology;

  • Convene dialogues on critical technology supply chains.

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is an informal strategic dialogue between India, USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.

The idea of Quad was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007.

Finally in November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending "Quad" Coalition with a focus on ensuring that the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific remain free of any influence.

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