MEA sets up emerging technologies division

The external affairs ministry on Wednesday announced the setting up of new, emerging and strategic technologies (NEST) division. The development comes close on the heels of the government allowing all network equipment makers, including Huawei, to participate in 5G trials.

NEST will act as the nodal division within the ministry for issues pertaining to new and emerging technologies, officials told ET. It will help in collaboration with foreign partners in the field of 5G and artificial intelligence.

Its mandate shall include, but not be limited to, evolving India’s external technology policy in coordination with domestic stakeholders and in line with India’s developmental priorities and national security goals. It will also help assess foreign policy and international legal implications of new and emerging technologies and technology-based resources, and recommend appropriate foreign policy choice.

Speaking at the Ramnatha Goenka Memorial lecture recently, foreign minister S Jaishankar had said that “technology, connectivity and trade are at the heart of new contestations”. Many of the new and emerging technologies have significant implications for diplomacy, national security and global rule-making.

NEST will negotiate technology governance rules, standards and architecture, suited to India’s conditions, in multilateral and plurilateral frameworks.

It will also undertake creation of HR capacity within the ministry for technology diplomacy work by utilising the existing talent-pool and facilitating functional specialisation of foreign service officers in various technology domains.

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