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         use them as part of mili- tary naval exercises. These platforms help both the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese Academy of Sciences equally in car- rying out dual-purpose ac- tivities. Even the US’s fore- most DSVs and ROUVs are jointly developed, operated, or shared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research.
The US and Chinese models leave no ambiguity that they consider deep- ocean activities as strategic. These are indicators that the Deep Ocean Mission deserves collaborations and joint-opera- tions between the MoES and the Indian Navy. But this civilian-military fusion has not been codified yet.
Likewise, both cyber-physical sys- tems and quantum communications, even in the non-military domains, possess the great potential of being weaponised or becoming targets of information, biological, economic, and intelligen- tised warfare, competitive intelligence, industrial espionage, data breaches, and cyber-crimes. With terms such as ‘cy- ber-physical machine supremacy’ and ‘quantum advantage’ revolving around these emerging technologies, it is clear that even the commercial and civilian cyber-physical and quantum systems will be dual-use in nature. Moreover, the tre- mendous volumes of novel components that go into making these two emerging technologies, particularly their physical realisations, make it imperative to look at their long-range ramifications.
Although the NM-QTA and NM- ICPS are independent of similar defence and space-focused ventures by DRDO, DAE, or ISRO, the DST missions cannot be deemed entirely civilian. For instance, the NM-ICPS Technology Innovation Hub in Hyderabad, India’s missile capi- tal, is already witnessing civilian-military fusion in understanding the Janus-faced nature of cyber-physical systems. Such fusion is about to grow in other innova- tion ecosystems too. So, undermining
energy, and defense systems. The government can avoid getting lost in translation when it calls hard-power goals strategic and soft-power goals unwittingly as non-strategic. With a simple ternary ap- proach, it can slot its scientific undertakings as hard-, soft- , smart-power pursuits. The new category of smart-power scientific objectives will entail all dual-use and dual-purpose undertakings. It will then ap- pear that most of the ongoing capital-in- tensive S&T missions (human spaceflight, deep ocean and planetary exploration, fission energy, quantum computing, se- cure communications, sixth-generation telecommunications, cyber-physical systems, CRISPR, personal medicine) are all dual-use and hence smart-power
In an era where coercion transforms
from destructive to disruptive realms, no emerging technology or its resulting capability can be pigeon-holed as weap- onizable and non-weaponizable. For this reason, there is a need for smart power perception and planning for emerging technologies and their abilities. Keeping all these factors into consideration, the Indian government can consider creat- ing a new trans-ministerial entity that curates the R&D, testing, evaluation, and deployment of emerging technologies and capabilities. This entity can be the ‘Cabinet Committee on Futuristic Sci- ence and Technologies’ that this author has been plugging for some years. The tremendous churn S&T is going through globally requires the reorientation of our science ministries. If that is too much of an ask, then reforming their perception of what qualifies as strategic science is at least doable.
* The writer is a Technology Strategy Analyst and holds a PhD in Astrochemistry from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Germany) and the University of Nice (France). He was a crew member of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
A Deep Ocean mission
Weaponisation of civilian and commercial science is a pressing issue of the current multipolar world.
the Janus-faced nature of cyber-physical and quantum technologies coming from civilian labs can pose a challenge later.
The weaponisation of civilian and commercial science is a pressing issue of the current multipolar world. Even today, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has dawned that a virus, which is stud- ied largely by the so-called non-strategic laboratories in India, has been causing an epochal global geo-economic disruption. Shortly, many emerging technologies, including those researched and developed in non-strategic laboratories, can also cause far-reaching economic, political, and security consequences. As a result, it is becoming increasingly futile to carry on with the 20th century comprehension of what makes an S&T sector strategic.
The non-strategic science ministries are indeed the emissaries of peace, co- operation, and soft diplomacy. They provide humanitarian assistance and support through S&T solutions. The scientists operating under these minis- tries are frequent enablers and pursuant of track-2 science diplomacy. But given the fast-paced technological changes due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, our technocrats and policymakers should comprehend that the tables are turning. Quantum computing, quantum com- munications, cyber-physical systems, and similar emerging technologies could become equally techno-politically cli- macteric if not more than space, atomic
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