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India and the EU’s Digital Indo-Pacific Strategy

India’s approach toward digitalisation and technology governance appears incongruent with the digital aspects of the European Union’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

As the European Union (EU) embarks on its own distinctive strategic outlook to the Indo-Pacific region, it aims to contribute to an open, safe and inclusive digital connectivity and engage with the region’s thriving digital economies. While the Indo-Pacific countries have called for greater maritime presence by the European countries in their increasingly contested waters, European actors may have more to offer in the high-technology and digital domains. Recognising the opportunities and disruptions that accompany the digital transition and green transformation globally, the EU and its member states are committed to increasing their engagement with the governments, commercial and civil-society stakeholders and networks in the Indo-Pacific on a broad array of digitalisation issues.

The EU’s digital agenda and approach in the Indo-Pacific hinges on promoting an open, transparent and inclusive digital domain, with a focus on promoting users and user rights, especially on issues like data privacy, free flow of cross border data transfers and cybersecurity. The hope is to develop strategic digital connectivity partnerships with key Asian partners that ostensibly share similar goals. Yet, this prospect cannot be taken for granted or accepted, given the diversity of digital governance agendas that suffuse the Indo-Pacific that veer from the EU’s open and human-centred digital agenda. India’s digital and technology governance agenda and approach, in particular, stand in contrast to the EU which could complicate their efforts to create a mutually beneficial digital partnership.

The original article was published by the NUS Institute of South Asian Studies.

The Boston Global Forum (BGF), in collaboration with the United Nations Centennial Initiative, released a major work entitled Remaking the World – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment.   More than twenty distinguished leaders, scholars, analysts, and thinkers put forth unprecedented approaches to the challenges before us. These include President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Governor Michael Dukakis, Father of Internet Vint Cerf, Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Harvard University Professors Joseph Nye and Thomas Patterson, MIT Professors Nazli Choucri and Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland.  The BGF introduced core concepts shaping pathbreaking international initiatives, notably, the Social Contract for the AI Age, an AI International Accord, the Global Alliance for Digital Governance, the AI World Society (AIWS) Ecosystem, and AIWS City.