Why you should not ignore Science and Tech. Threats arising from gaps (read China) in Science and Tech are far more serious than assumed. Wish list of a CONCERNED AND ANXIOUS citizen.- 2
A few days back in part 1 we have high lighted the rather unplanned trajectory of research and development in the realm of science and technology in our country (https://www.facebook.com/samanvayain/posts/2121848401388961).
We have received feedback from many and would like to focus on the same theme in this post, whereby we would like to stress how we are lagging in this crucial area, which will be the frontier for new age war going forward. All though we may have nuke fitted missiles head and many other gizmos but sooner they all will be obscured as the cost to maintain them and the risk they pose to the entire human race and the planet Earth are phenomenol for any sane man or country to order its usage. Therefore the battleground will be smaller and intelligent things that can be used to outsmart each other. As Ruchir Sharma has predicted technology will decide who wins the race in the present century. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/opinion/china-trade-war-technology.html).
Before we take the subject of this post, it is important to know and understand WHY, and HOW China is going ahead with its ‘China First’ policy to conquer the world.
The Why question answered :
The much-circulated concept note or what is called ‘Xi Thought’ is now the bible of communist China and is supposed to guide the PRC for next 50 to 100 years. It is discussed at various international think tanks to understand China through the eyes of Xi. Basically, it talks about the “Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. It focuses for 2050 when Xi expects China will return to its rightful status after over a century of bowing to the demands of Western powers. (Must read: https://www.forbes.com/sites/salvatorebabones/2017/10/22/what-does-xi-jinping-thought-mean-and-how-does-it-compare-to-america-first/#5e8660c23262).
The How question answered:
China has leapfrogged in the domain of Science and Technology through multiple ways and channels. It is important to see and understand them and then introspect where we are and what we are doing.
China’s “Thousand Talents” program to tap into its citizens educated or employed in the U.S. is a key part of multi-pronged efforts to transfer, replicate and eventually overtake U.S. military and commercial technology, according to American intelligence officials. The program, begun in 2008, is far from secret. But its unadvertised goal is “to facilitate the legal and illicit transfer of U.S. technology, intellectual property and know-how” to China, according to an unclassified analysis by the National Intelligence Council, the branch of U.S. intelligence that assesses long-term trends.(https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-mines-silicon-valley-for-chinese-tech-talent-1530028118).
The threat of China has made America nervous to the point that President Donald Trump is preparing a series of efforts to limit China’s ability to invest in the U.S. tech sector. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the President will use the wide-reaching International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 to invoke national security concerns to limit the ability of China-owned or China-backed firms to invest in U.S. companies that are linked to “industrially significant” U.S. technology and to enhance export controls, that could be unveiled as early as this week, to keep American technology from finding its way to China. (https://androidworld.co.in/trump-puts-tech-in-trade-war-crosshairs-with-planned-curb-on-china-investment/).
Secondly, it is targeting Start-Ups through its fund houses and venture
capitalists. For example, Danhua Capital has invested in some of Silicon
Valley’s most promising startups in areas like drones, artificial intelligence
and cyber security. The venture capital firm is based just outside Stanford University,
the epicenter of U.S. technology entrepreneurship. Besides, more than 20
Silicon Valley venture capital firms have close ties to a Chinese government
fund or state-owned entity, according to interviews with venture capital
sources and publicly available information.
Another area of contention is the reportedly theft of intellectual property
esp in the domain of digital and semiconductor FAB design. China has ambitious plans
to overhaul its economy and compete for head to head with the United States
and other nations in the technology of tomorrow. The heist of the designs
two years ago and the raids last year, which were described by Micron in
court filings and the police in Taiwan, represent the dark side of that effort
— and explain in part why the United States is starting a trade war with China.
It is not that China is just looking at the defence and strategic technologies that will make it world conquerer. It is also capturing smaller yet critical areas like solar, API’s required to produce generic drugs can cripple Indian Pharma industry (https://www.thepharmaletter.com/article/tensions-growing-in-india-over-dependence-on-chinese-apis). . That is one of the reason why the Indian Pharma ind. is not too happy after China reduced tariffs on 25 drugs produced by India (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/pharmaceuticals/chinas-plans-to-import-indian-drugs-fail-to-enthuse-indian-pharmaceutical-firms/articleshow/64145030.cms).
China has also taken lead in Rare Earth element segment by taking hold of mines in Gulf,
Africa and elsewhere.
All these have rattled the Americans so much that President Trump has
announced a full-fledged trade war with the Chinese imposing tariffs which is
basically to restrict technology pilferage.
The latest news of Trump imposing 500 billion tariffs on Chinese goods will be
certainly the final nail in the coffin that will make China keeping a sober position for the moment.
Nonetheless , the objective of this post is to highlight the importance of Science
and Technology and the race that is happening around it to lead. India as expected, is
walking its own pace, unaware of the larger ramifications of the whole thing has much to catch up and needs to go whole headtedly in this area.
We feel that this is the just the right time to empower suitable agencies, people
to take the frontiers of science and technology ahead if India wants to remain in
the race of global powers and in the worse case that affects its existential potential.
However there is also a greater need to plan and do it in an orderly manner with synergies,
coordination and cooperation among people and organizations.
There are multiple challenges for the country to cope with, but Science and Technology is way ahead that pose severe threats to the nation if left on its own pace and can also provide solutions to many others.
Dr Asheesh Shah
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