Friday, October 29, 2021

Quad Summit 2021: A joint initiative towards Safe supply chain of Semiconductors

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Washington this month, on 24th September to participate in the first in-person summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad with his counterparts from Japan, the US, and Australia. The summit will broadly focus on various global challenges including ways to ensure a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. The four countries will also deliberate and review the Covid-19 vaccine initiative which was launched earlier this March.

On 25 September Modi is expected to address the UN General Assembly also.

Now, ahead of the Quad Summit, the leaders of the Quad nations have decided to concentrate on creating a safe supply chain for semiconductors. This implies that the quad nations are looking forward to expanding their scope against the manufacturing giant, China in the Indo-Pacific. Focusing on technological development, the four-nation framework may soon confirm resilient, diverse, and secure technology supply chains for hardware and software that are of utmost importance to their national interest.

A joint statement was released that stressed the challenges that are currently being faced in regards to the illicit transfer and theft of technology. Hence, quad nations believe that the technology has to be designed and developed in a way that can be shared and shaped by the countries on democratic values.

Joint initiative on microchip making technology

The statement mentioned that the countries are gearing to launch a joint initiative in order to determine individual’s capacity and their vulnerability in the supply chain for semiconductors. Meanwhile, quad nations, the US and Japan have 30% of the chipmaking capacity, while Australia and India do not have any leading chipmakers.

India’s journey in chip-making

The Indian semiconductor industry provides high growth potential areas for the future of the country. In the last few years, the government has increased focus in this sector in order to achieve a degree of self-sufficiency in the electronic sector. Various government interventions have been taken over the years:

– In 2017-18, the government increased the allocation for incentive schemes to Rs 745 crore for providing a boost to the semiconductor as well as the electronics manufacturing industry.

– The government also plans to invest US$10 billion in two computer chip manufacturing facilities to keep a concentrated focus on high-end innovation.

– The Union Cabinet has reconstituted a committee on setting up semiconductor wafer fabrication manufacturing facilities in the country.

Quad Summit 2021: The Agenda

The Quad Summit theme of the year revolves around Building Resilience through hope to recover from Covid-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations. The September Quad Summit will gather the focus on deepening the ties and advancing practical cooperation in areas including:

– Tackling Coronavirus pandemic
– Emerging technologies & cyberspace
– Addressing the climate crisis
– Promoting free and open Indo-Pacific

Apart from reviewing the Covid-19 vaccine initiative, the leaders will also exchange views on contemporary global issues such as connectivity and infrastructure, maritime security, cyber security, climate change, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief. In an account of recent developments in Afghanistan and the subsequent rise in global terror threats, the four leaders are expected to take this as a part of the discussions.

About Quadrilateral Security Dialogue

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad is a strategic dialogue comprising Japan, India, the US, and Australia. The establishment of the Quad goes back to 2007 by the then Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, US Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh.

The strategic summit was discontinued after the withdrawal of Australia during the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s tenure. However, the dialogue revived back during the 2017 ASEAN Summits, when the four leaders of India, the US, Japan, and Australia agreed to revive the alliance.

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