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India’s Ministry of External Affairs offers support to AI initiatives, other technologies

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)—the government agency responsible for implementing Indian foreign policy—is planning to support India’s artificial intelligence (AI) drive and geospatial technologies and space sector initiatives.

“We are trying to support the AI Mission through arrangements outside India. Now, there’s a lot of demand from different countries to collaborate with India on geospatial technology. The space sector is another area on which we are actively assisting the industry, and had a high-level meeting,” an MEA official told media outlet ETTelecom.com.

AI can be used in the defense sector, according to the official. While India has a lot of work to do in the geospatial technology domain, some projects like remote sensing and mapping are already in demand, the report added, quoting the official it did not identify.

Meanwhile, the official said it was MEA’s conscious decision to get away from the Chinese market and that Indian companies should look at exporting telecom equipment to Western countries.

“Many countries may be interested in India’s indigenously developed technologies such as the 5G stack. We are assisting diplomatically and facilitating companies and the industries,” the official said.

In March, the South Asian nation approved over Rs 10,300 crore ($1.24 billion) for the IndiaAI Mission, slated over the next five years. The financial infusion aims to boost the country’s AI ecosystem, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The allocation is expected to benefit citizens and contribute to the expansion of the economy.

“This approval of over 10,300 crores for the IndiaAI program will catalyze India’s AI ecosystem and position it as a force shaping the future of AI for India and for the world,” Deputy IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

“AI is going to be the kinetic enabler for India’s digital economy,” he added.

According to a recent report by intelligent data infrastructure company NetApp, countries such as India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States are leading in AI adoption and innovation. The report said that India leads with 70% adoption.

With his Viksit Bharat (developed India) goalPrime Minister Narendra Modi will leverage AI to achieve a $5 trillion economy target by 2028, luring investors and corporates to be part of the India growth story. The world’s most populous nation is also expected to release a draft regulatory framework for AI by July to use the technology for economic growth while setting up guardrails to prevent misuse.

However, India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, has warned against risks posed by artificial intelligence and deepfakes to national security.

India’s 2024 general elections, which are being held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1, are not only using AI to target voters through dozens of language translations, but also to create deepfake videos and conversational bots, raising concerns over the misuse of the technology.

As a result, the Election Commission of India—established by the Constitution of India and empowered to conduct free and fair elections—issued an advisory to political parties warning them against misuse of AI tools to create deepfakes and spread misinformation and urging them to maintain the sanctity of the electoral process.

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