The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 27 February 2021

Biden, India and China

  • This article speaks about the incoming of the Biden Regime and the changes or implications that we will see in the Indo USA relations and other aspects related to China inter alia.
  • We have seen initially that the Biden regime has aimed to reverse several steps taken under the Trump regime like the US’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement, WHO, UNHRC among others.
  • We saw that there was a growing closeness between India and the USA as both had their differences with China and aspects like Quad Grouping and the Indo-Pacific policy was falling in shape.
  • Biden’s regime seems a bit different as PM Modi has been on call with Mr. Biden and spoken about the betterment of relations, not just that, the Minster of External Affairs and the NSA have also been in touch with their counterparts as well.
  • We saw that Mr. John Kerry who is Biden’s climate change envoy has appreciated India’s progress vis-à-vis climate change and we have seen good cooperation with regards to COVID 19 and other areas like Indian entry through Visas or green cards as several MOUs have been signed.
  • China’s angle has to be looked at as China attracted the resentment of the USA with the violence at the LAC in 2020 and we got closer with Quad and others but with the Biden regime, things seem different. We have now disengaged with China and Biden regime seems to take on China in a more strategic manner, so our defensive stance seems good.
  • China is quite important for USA as they need its cooperation when it comes to trade, technology or defence. Also, China is important due to its superiority in the manufacture of pharma ingredients.
  • India could be at crossroads if the USA and China could get increasingly closer and India might be get dropped; since India is joining with nations like Japan and Australia for the supply chain resilience initiative, the changes must be watched out for.
  • The USA under Biden has been a huge supporter of human rights and has voiced their discontent against aspects like violations, especially in India with the internet shutdown in Kashmir, the farmers’ protests, the Twitter face-off, or even the shutting down of NGOs like Amnesty International among others.
  • India, though considers this as internal matters, the criticism of the USA holds a good amount of credibility and must not be allowed to happen.
  • The USA would need India’s cooperation for voicing against human rights violation in nations like Myanmar where there is a political turmoil with the military coup and in Sri Lanka as well. Since India also has their personal equation with these nations, their ability to balance will be in the limelight.
  • The bone of contention could be the S400/Triumf missiles that we get from Russia and we could be a target of CAATSA or Countering American Adversaries through Sanctions which were able to escape in the Trump regime.
  • The GSP or the Generalized System of Preferences status also matters to the Indian Balance of Payments, hence that must also be given a thought as well.
  • India’s status in Afghanistan is also in a tough position as USA troops have moved out and due to this Russia, China and Pakistan are having an upper hand.
  • Hence, keeping all these issues in mind, we need to considerate of the changes that have been taking place and take steps that seem effective and significant.

Science in India

  • This article comes in the backdrop of National Science Day on February 28 celebrated every year. It speaks about the progress and achievements we have done in this regard and more things we need as well.
  • The author mentions about the report of the National Science Foundation of the USA that in 2019 India was the third-largest publisher of peer-reviewed science and engineering journal. This was a good growth but was lesser than nations like China and the USA.
  • He also mentions about how the publications were not impactful and India’s index score of 0.07 was lower than that of the USA and China which had an index score of more than 1 which is considered as good.
  • There is a mention of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Index) with their PCT or Patent Cooperation Treaty and speaks about India has filed 2053 patent applications but again this is lesser than nations like the USA or China that have filed over 50000 patents.
  • Going forward, we can note that this is not a bad scenario as we have seen that there has been immense growth and this is also encouraged further with the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy and fostering of innovation in various avenues.
  • Our progress in science can be evaluated with the incoming of science policies which have been four in number and the fifth one is in the draft stage.
  • The first one came in 1958 which spoke about
    • Developing scientific temper
    • Developing scientific enterprises
    • Lay foundation of research institutions or national laboratories
  • The second one came in 1983 which spoke about
    • Self-reliance
    • Strengthen fields like electronics and Biotechnology
    • Benefits sections of the society
  • The third one came in 2003 which came to post the LPG era and was important as it spoke about
    • Increase investment in research and development
    • Establishment of SERB (Scientific and Engineering Research Board)
    • Promote better research
  • The fourth came in 2013 which spoke about
    • Making India a global leader
    • Achieve great partnerships with other nations
    • Make greater international projects
    • Develop better research and development centers
  • The one envisioned next has many hopes and ideas which include
    • Increase the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers
    • Increase the expenditure on the Research and development
    • Position India in the top 3 superpowers in terms of science and technology
    • Make one nation, one subscription – open science framework
    • Rope in private sector contribution in the same
    • Build better center state cooperation in this regard
  • There will key areas of focus like
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Machine learning
    • Indigenous knowledge systems
    • Science diplomacy
    • COVID 19 cooperation
    • Transparent and verifiable approach etc.
  • All in all, we need to focus on advancing well in terms of S&T, also follow a decentralized approach for the same as well; make India’s future-ready and use it to improve the quality of our lives.
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