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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q How India can harness the potential of Science and Tech-driven Diplomacy? (150 words)

    25 Oct, 2022 GS Paper 2 International Relations


    • Discuss in brief about tech-driven diplomacy and its significance.
    • Challenges faced by tech-driven diplomacy.
    • Discuss India's potential to leverage Tech-driven diplomacy.
    • Conclude suitably.


    • Diplomacy has been a tool of statecraft that addresses the objectives of the State nationally and internationally. With time, diplomacy has gradually co-opted multiple disciplines as levers to achieve diplomatic goals. Tech-driven diplomacy means the scientific inputs going into diplomacy and foreign policy making.


    • Significance of Tech-driven Diplomacy:
      • Global challenges such as weapons of mass destruction, climate change, cyber security, human health, energy and environment, outer space etc., all require scientific inputs in order to understand and deal with them.
      • These challenges are trans-border and require application of science and technology in order to resolve them in addition to normal diplomatic efforts.
        • e.g Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
      • It offers alternative channels of engagement among countries that may have political differences, thus playing an important role by influencing the dynamics of power-balance between sovereign nations.
      • It seeks to acquire science and technology knowledge to strengthen national economy and capacity and to participate more effectively in international discussions where science and technology are involved.
    • Challenges faced by tech-driven diplomacy:
      • Rise of Cyber-Warfare and Cyber-Armies: Technology has changed the nature of warfare from visible large-scale military action and violence to subtle, invisible yet decisive cyberwarfare for crippling the enemy’s information environment in a war-like situation.
      • Threat of Bioweapons: With advances in biotechnology, microbiological agents (such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi) can be used as biological weapon to intentionally cause harm to humans, animals, or plants in case of conflict and war.
      • Data Privacy Concern: Big data is often perceived as the black gold of the 21st century.
        • As the Internet allows for the aggregation and globalisation of markets and consumers, cross-border data flow is becoming a contested issue of data privacy and global governance.
    • With rise of India as a technological powerhouse, it’s potential could be leveraged through collaborating on tech-driven infrastructure like:
      • Unifying World with Unified Payment System: The Unified Payment Interface (UPI) has proved a tectonic shift in the payments system for India.
        • An open and multilateral digital system of payments that has been developed in India can be pushed for adoption in different countries. This can serve as a perfect soft power opportunity.
        • A key diplomatic win would be when India’s existing digital payments system becomes a globally accepted standard. This is already underway, with four countries (Nepal, Bhutan, Singapore and UAE) having accepted and using India’s payments system.
    • Public Health Space: In terms of global presence, India remains the world’s largest supplier of generic medicines and drugs, accounting for 20% of the global demand. India has also been at the forefront of vaccine manufacturing and Vaccine diplomacy.
      • This has made India a torchbearer in the public health space forging new ties around. More incentive for Research and Development activities can improve India’s soft power in terms of global health cooperation.
    • Science Tourism: India can conceptualise science tourism promoting scientific locations around the nation like National Science Centre, Delhi and Birla Science Museum, Hyderabad that can be visited by the people across the globe to quench their thirst for knowledge in the various fields of science and technology.
    • Collaboration with other countries:
      • Brahmos: It’s an Indo-Russian joint venture, has a range of 290 km and is the fastest cruise missile in the world with a top speed of Mach 2.8 (nearly three times the speed of sound).
      • Artificial Intelligence: India and the US launched the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum’s US India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative, it will also help both countries collaborate on AI innovation and develop an AI workforce.


    The science and Technology is a low-hanging fruit for India to employ in its soft power arsenal. Along with a multi-aligned stand on global geopolitics, the time is ripe for India to extend its science and tech ties in global geoeconomics in a more comprehensive and well-rounded manner.

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