Submitted by Aditi Sharma and Ananya Saraogi, Research Interns.
The impact of the changing trends on society is coming from these technologies. The big fishes in the market, i.e., Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. are playing a very significant role in dealing with these changes by influencing policies and regulations related to it. People generally equated the situation by asking the experts if these technologies are good or bad, which is a wrong line of question. But the correct approach to look at this changing trend is to see how we relate to the change as a country. Today we are standing on a crossroads where we need the help of these big companies to help the society understand that we need these technologies to become better. Because they have power in their hands, we need them to collaborate with various governments, civil societies, media, and other persons to help them develop and turn to an entirely new era of digitalization that is benefitting every individual in the society. Here comes the role of diplomacy. Diplomacy is the tool that would effectively help collaboration.
India’s step forward towards digital diplomacy
Recently, the Abu Dabi Investment Authority (ADIA) announced that it would invest Rs. 97,855.65 crore in Jio Platforms Limited and Reliance digital industries. With this investment, Reliance Industries would aim to build the Jio Platform into a whole new digital entity and raise it on the lines of subsidiaries of companies like Alphabet and Tencent. It is not the first time when such investments are made in its digital ecosystem. The company has specified that it aims to turn our country into Digital India and provide access to almost every person in the country. This event is the witness of the fact that technology is expanding, and companies like Reliance Industries play a vital role in this.
It is also not a hidden fact that whenever we take a step towards developing a new technological advance, we also introduce ourselves to a new menace. The challenge that we would face with growing technology is not hidden. Nevertheless, it can never be overlooked that these industries are also essential to shaping the country’s economy. The government’s support in such investments and Jio’s initiative to turn the country into Digital India is a witness that India is indulgent in technological diplomacy.
Future of Indian Technology Diplomacy
India has always aspired to establish itself as a significant international power and is pragmatic towards it. It is not a hidden fact that this aspiration is a result of India’s soft power diplomacy. Its technological achievements, scientific developments, and initiatives like Digital India show that the country tends to be optimistic about trends of the next phase. On the other hand, it is still surrounded by the pessimistic approach of digital diplomacy. In the era of digitalization, any person can be a producer or a consumer of information. There is the risk involved, and knowingly, India is ready to take it. Because we are aware that if it turns out to be a success, the propitious will outpower every unfortunate risk.
RIL has undertaken the eighth biggest deal in just almost seven weeks for Jio Platform. Recently Abu-Dhabi’s sovereign fund Mubadala had bought a stake in Jio. ADIA the next in line for its investment and has grabbed the eyeballs of various investors. Jio as a digital platform has been progressing immensely in the current pandemic situation. The investment has successfully portrayed RIL as a tech-giant. According to analysts, the main goal of the industry is to achieve a “net-zero debt goal” in the upcoming time in the global market. The deal with ADIA and other global investors has brought in a cash flow of about 54,000 crores in the Jio Platform.
The stakes in the Jio Platform has further assisted the adoption of technology in the upcoming years. The investment surely highlights the growth of JIO as technology has been sharply escalating in the market in the COVID-19 situation. One of the first telecom giant to be receiving such stakes and has invited 388 million subscribers with the highest number. Under the umbrella of Jio Platform various online services are being and promised to be provided; further inviting investors to invest. The greater the investment, the stronger the digital network. The challenges of This further increase for the online platform to maintain the privacy and up-gradation of the user’s data they would be dealing with. Jio Platform has the vision of providing its services Pan-India. This means that the rural population of the country would also be the consumers which would be a greater responsibility to look forth as the furnishing data would have to be in accordance to their convenience. The illiteracy rate in rural areas is higher in comparison to urban areas in such a situation it would be extremely challenging for the platform to provide adequate services. Apart from this, electricity and unavailability of network towers in the not so developed villages has to also be dealt with. The investments could be a relief for the RIL to deal and approach the issues in the manner expected.