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BRICS 5G Innovation Base

  • 26 Aug 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

China has proposed the creation of a BRICS innovation base in China to take forward 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) cooperation among the five countries of BRICS i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Key Points

  • China urged fellow nations, including India, to boost cooperation in areas including 5G and Artificial Intelligence.
  • This move could pose a conundrum before India who is having issues with China in recent times but other countries seem to willing to allow China’s participation in their 5G networks.
    • India is unlikely to allow Chinese participation in the roll-out of its national 5G network, particularly in the wake of recent moves to tighten investment from China and to ban 59 Chinese apps, citing national security concerns.
    • A high-level committee on 5G is opposed to including Chinese vendors including Huawei in the 5G trials.
    • Indian intelligence assessments have also expressed concerns on the possible direct or indirect links of several Chinese companies, including Huawei, with the Chinese military.
    • India has made clear that a return to normalcy cannot be possible while tensions along the Line of Actual Control remain unresolved.
    • It needs to be noted that India has recently joined the 'Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)' as a founding member to support the responsible and human-centric development and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • Russia has agreed to work with China on 5G and with Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, which has been largely banned by the United States.
    • Huawei has been at the centre of rising USA-China tensions over technology and security.
    • The USA has restricted China’s access to chip making tools. Huawei may face shortages in supply of processor chips for which it relies on the USA.
  • In South Africa, Huawei is providing services to three of its telecom operators in the roll-out of their 5G networks.
  • Brazil has allowed participation of Huawein in 5G trials. More than a third of Brazil’s 4G network operators use Huawei equipment. Brazil maintains that Huawei has capacity above its international competitors.

Way Forward

  • China announced in 2017 its ambition to become the world leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) by 2030 with its Artificial Intelligence Development Plan. Alongside the USA, it is already a world leader in terms of AI research. Though India has started taking steps in this direction like National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence, it is yet to acknowledge that superiority in critical technologies like AI, cyber and space will decide the future superpowers.
  • India cannot afford to sever all its economic links with the world’s second-largest economy, even in the digital space. However, through initiatives like Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, India can try to replace chinese technology with domestic ones. Further, it needs to boost up its economic relations with other countries.
  • The ongoing trade war between China and the USA has also created a dilemma for India. India is a party to many trade and diplomatic engagements with China like RCEP, Russia-India-China Grouping, BRICS etc. It also cannot afford to cut off the trade relations with the USA.
    • In such a scenario, it is imperative for India to seek a middle path for balancing its strategic interests between the USA and the Russia-China axis, maintaining its historical Non-Aligned position.

Source: TH

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