[Editorial Analysis] Raja Mandala: The tech wars are here Meng Wanzhou arrest

Mains Paper 3: Science and Technology

Prelims level: Raja Mandala

Mains level: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Context

• The arrest of a top executive of a Chinese company sharpening contest between Washington and Beijing for leadership in artificial intelligence, robotics and synthetic biology.

• The immediate focus is on fifth-generation wireless technologies that promise to transform digital connectivity in the next few years.

• Losing the technological leadership to Beijing, Washington knows, will begin to undermine America’s global primacy in the 21st century.

• India will not be unaffected by the technology war between America and China.
• As Washington goes after Huawei, the crown jewel of China’s technology companies, Delhi’s own exposure to the company will come under scrutiny.

• Even more important, the new dynamic between the US and China will severely test India’s great power relations.

• Just as India’s traditional defence relationship with Russia is coming under stress amidst the new conflict between Washington and Moscow, Delhi’s ties with Huawei, will come under the American scanner, sooner rather than later.

India’s strategy

• India’s strategy of playing all sides among the great powers, however, is becoming difficult to sustain amidst Washington’s rapidly deteriorating relations with Moscow and Beijing.

• The US request was based on the suspicion that Huawei was involved in circumventing the financial sanctions against Iran.

• If the Canadian justice system approves, Meng will be extradited to face charges in the US.

• This is not the first time earlier this year, the Trump administration banned the export of American components to the Chinese telecom firm, ZTE, on charges similar to those being considered against Huawei.

• The case of Huawei could turn out to be a bigger challenge for both countries.

• Unlike the ZTE case, the Huawei case is being treated as a criminal offence and could lead to severe punishment for Meng.

• What makes the case even more interesting is the fact that Meng is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, and is poised to take charge of the company. As Beijing considers retaliation, Xi faces a dilemma.

Way forward

• Over the last few weeks, the Western intelligence agencies have come out in the open to voice security concerns in relation to Huawei and the dangers of letting it build 5G networks in the world.

• The concerns of these agencies the opaque nature of Huawei’s links with the People’s Liberation Army, the danger of enhanced Chinese espionage and the potential boost to China’s offensive cyber capabilities.

• India’s security agencies had articulated nearly two decades ago when Huawei was trying to break into the Indian telecom market. But commercial interests and foreign policy considerations of strengthening economic engagement with China helped tip the argument in Huawei’s favour.

• Since then, Huawei has acquired a dominant position in the smartphone sales domain and the supply of network equipment.

• Amidst the new global pushback against Huawei and India’s own plans to introduce 5G mobile technology, Delhi might have to revisit the old arguments and take a fresh look at its relationship with the Chinese tech giant.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Carbon footprint of a modern Indian family can be reduced by

1. Using LED-based electric lamps instead of incandescent lamps

2. Preferring public transport rather than private transport

3. Buying imported non-vegetarian food rather than vegetarian food

4. Choosing to travel more often by flight rather than train

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

a) 2 and 3 only

b) 1 and 2 only

c) 1, 2 and 4 only

d) 3 and 4 only

Answer: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1) With global pushback against Huawei, India needs to revisit old arguments against the company. Critically analyse the statement

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