The second half of 2021 will see Australia hosting one of a kind summit on emerging, vital cyber technologies as declared in a statement on 23rd December from  nations Overseas Minister Marise Payne, “ The Australian Authorities is supporting the institution of the Sydney Dialogue, which shall be held for the primary time just about within the second half of 2021”

While there are several conferences, symposiums and dialogs regarding various topics including, trade, security economics, there has been another vital area of cyber and critical technology, which has by far missed the delegate attention of leaders, economists, academicians or civic bodies. The Minister’s statement aid to overcome this gap.

The Sydney Dialogue will be hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a Canberra think tank, which will receive AU$1.5 million (US$1.1 million) from the government for this purpose.

Remarkably, in Payne’s avowal, that even though the Dialogue will take a broader point of view, India will be a core topic for inaugural as Australia seeks to emerge as a tech chief within Indo-Pacific.“Whereas the Dialogue will take a world perspective, it can have a specific give attention to the Indo-Pacific, and subsequent 12 month’s inaugural assembly may have India as a core matter”.

Last few months has seen both countries signing several agreements around emerging tech co-operations including Australia-India Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber Enabled Critical Technologies Cooperation. Australia has also committed to funding a Quad Tech Initiative, a Track II mechanism involving key think tanks in all four countries.

The Quad Tech Network will support universities and think tanks in Australia(the National Security College at the Australian National University), the United States (Center for a New American Security), Japan (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies) and India (Observer Research Foundation), to develop research and recommendations on the shared challenges facing Australia and Indo-Pacific partners in the cyber and technology environment.

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India’s pivotal role at the 2021 tech summit

ASPI and the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi expert panel, that will represent India in the Quad Tech Initiative, released a report on 14 October 2020, outlining 14 recommendations around increased Australia-India tech cooperation.

India has also recognized its place as an emerging tech leader in Indo Pacific, in this effect the Indian Ministry of External Affairs created a New, Emerging and Strategic Technologies Division within the ministry. The MEA and Carnegie India, a brain trust affiliated with the Carnegie Endowment for Worldwide Peace, conducted a virtual Global technology summit in December 2020. In its inaugural speech on 14 December 2020, Indian Exterior Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, affirmed that “technology is clearly very political. It is today very much a core part of diplomacy. It is something which every foreign ministry is going to be focused on in many ways in a very central way.”  He also appreciated the recognition of the Indian foreign ministry to understand the strategic implications of new technologies and norms and regimes around them.

Payne’s statement launching the Sydney Dialogue stated, “The Australian Government is particularly committed to strengthening understanding of cyber and critical technology issues in the Indo-Pacific region, to ensure they promote and enable a safe, secure and prosperous region,”

Last year in September the top diplomats of U.S, Australia and India gathered in Tokyo, for the Indo-Pacific Summit 2020, for “quad” talks to discuss their common regional concerns in a first face-to-face meeting that was hosted by Japan since the corona virus pandemic. The agenda for the four foreign ministers was to discuss “free and open Indo-Pacific, a concept of security and economic cooperation along with economy hurt by the pandemic and other regional concerns.

This year’s summit will mark a notable place for India in global cyber and technology affairs.

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Image Courtesy: Web Summit, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons