The Inclusion of Artificial Intelligence in Indian Foreign Policy

Artificial intelligence

India’s foreign policy has evolved considerably since it gained independence in 1947. The country’s foreign policy has adapted to reflect the changes in its geopolitical and economic interests, as well as the shifts in its strategic environment. India’s foreign policy was initially driven by the principles of non-alignment and the promotion of peace and stability in the region and globally. During the Cold War, India attempted to maintain cordial relations with both the Western and Eastern blocs, and it played a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement. The country’s foreign policy approach was characterised by an emphasis on preserving its independence while advancing its interests in the global arena.

India’s foreign policy has undergone significant transformations in recent decades, reflecting the country’s aspirations to play a more prominent role in the international system. The country has adopted a pragmatic and proactive approach, seeking to leverage its growing economic and

military power to achieve its foreign policy objectives. India’s foreign policy has expanded to encompass issues such as energy security, counter-terrorism, and climate change. Furthermore, India’s foreign policy has placed a greater emphasis on regional cooperation and integration, as demonstrated by its initiatives such as the “Act East Policy” and “Neighborhood First Policy.” As India continues to emerge as a global power, its foreign policy is likely to become increasingly consequential, shaping regional and global affairs.

Following the Cold War, India’s foreign policy underwent a significant transformation characterized by increased engagement with the international community and strengthened economic ties with other countries. The end of the Cold War and the advent of globalization presented India with new opportunities to assert its status as a regional power and to actively participate in multilateral forums such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation. India adopted a more proactive foreign policy approach, aimed at increasing its global influence by forging stronger relationships with key partners and participating in international negotiations and peacekeeping missions.

In the 1990s, India’s foreign policy underwent significant changes due to a series of economic reforms. The liberalisation of the Indian economy and its openness to foreign investment led to the development of stronger economic ties with other nations, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. India’s increasing economic strength and its strategic location at the crossroads of Asia positioned it as a crucial player in the region, making it an attractive partner for countries seeking to engage with the Asian market. These developments significantly transformed India’s foreign policy, which became more focused on expanding economic ties and increasing its global influence.

In the 21st century, India has continued to play a more prominent role in global affairs. The country has actively participated in regional initiatives such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, among others. India has also pursued partnerships with key players such as the United States, China, and Japan, and has played an active role in addressing global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, and pandemics. Additionally, India has participated in international forums such as the G20 and the BRICS to promote its interests in the global

arena. Overall, India’s evolving foreign policy has been shaped by a combination of changing economic interests and a desire to increase its influence on the world stage.

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in India’s foreign policy has emerged as a key area of interest for policymakers, scholars, and practitioners in recent years. The rapid pace of technological advancements and the increasing availability of big data has made it possible for AI to play a significant role in shaping India’s foreign policy. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in India’s foreign policy is believed to have started in the early to mid-2010s when AI technology became increasingly prevalent and its potential applications in various fields, including foreign policy, became more widely recognized. Nevertheless, it is challenging to ascertain a precise timeline for the onset of India’s AI integration in foreign policy, given that the technology’s integration has been a gradual process, and its extent and impact may vary depending on the specific policy area or issue.

The Indian government has recognized AI as a key enabler for achieving its foreign policy goals, including advancing economic and trade interests, enhancing cybersecurity, and responding to emerging security challenges. In 2018, the Ministry of External Affairs launched a joint initiative with Carnegie India, a think tank, to explore the potential applications of AI in foreign policy. The collaboration resulted in the publication of a report, “India and the Policy Challenges of Artificial Intelligence,” which examined the strategic implications of AI for India’s foreign policy and recommended measures to enhance the country’s AI capabilities.

The Ministry of External Affairs in the same year (2018) established the Technology and Innovation in Diplomacy (TID) division, which aims to leverage technology and innovation to enhance India’s diplomatic outreach and influence. The TID division has explored the use of AI in various aspects of diplomacy, including the analysis of social media data and the development of chatbots to enhance communication with foreign governments and citizens. In addition, the Indian government has launched various initiatives to promote AI research and development, including the National Program on AI and the AI for All program.

Moreover, India has been actively engaging with other countries and international organisations to promote the responsible use and governance of AI in the international community. In 2019, India joined the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), a global initiative that seeks to promote the development and use of AI in a manner that is safe, ethical, and beneficial for all. The initiative brings together leading AI powers such as the United States, China, and Canada, as well as multilateral organisations such as the OECD and the World Economic Forum. Through its participation in the GPAI, India aims to contribute to the development of global norms and standards for AI governance and to shape the global discourse on the responsible use of AI

Implication

  • Analysing Big Data

India is utilizing AI to analyze enormous volumes of data for gaining a deeper understanding of global trends and events that may influence its foreign policy decisions. To accomplish this, machine learning algorithms are employed to extract patterns from unstructured data, such as news articles, social media, and government reports. Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques are also employed to comprehend the textual data, making it simpler to identify patterns and gain insights. This approach allows policymakers to make informed decisions and take appropriate measures by providing a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of global events that could impact foreign policy.

The use of AI tools in analysing data offers numerous advantages, particularly in handling vast amounts of unstructured data. Machine learning algorithms can sift through and analyse this data in a matter of seconds, enabling policymakers to identify patterns and generate insights that would be nearly impossible for humans to do manually. Additionally, this process is scalable, allowing policymakers to analyze a vast quantity of data, which is essential when monitoring global events that are constantly evolving. Overall, the use of AI in analyzing data for foreign policy decision-making in India is proving to be an effective strategy for comprehending global events and trends, thereby enabling policymakers to make informed decisions.

NLP is a key AI tool used in this analysis, enabling the processing of unstructured data such as news articles and social media posts. The scale and complexity of this data make manual analysis difficult, but

NLP can extract valuable insights from these sources, such as identifying key topics and sentiment analysis. Machine learning algorithms are then applied to identify patterns in the data, enabling policymakers to gain a deeper understanding of global trends, such as political unrest or emerging economic opportunities.

The insights generated from this analysis are critical for policymakers to make informed decisions on foreign policy. For instance, if the analysis reveals political unrest in a particular region, policymakers can factor this into foreign aid decisions or diplomatic outreach plans. On the other hand, if the analysis identifies economic growth in a specific country, it can inform trade and investment decisions. Therefore, the use of AI in foreign policy analysis is proving to be an invaluable tool, enabling policymakers to make evidence-based decisions in a complex global landscape.

  • predictive analytics

Predictive analytics is being employed by India to analyze past events and forecast future trends in international relations. This involves the utilization of statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify patterns in historical data and predict future events. India is gathering and analysing data from a variety of sources, such as historical diplomatic records, economic indicators, social media, and news articles, to identify patterns and trends in international relations that may not be immediately apparent to human analysts.

India’s use of predictive analytics in foreign policy can provide insights that are useful for anticipating potential challenges and opportunities in international relations. For instance, it can help to forecast potential crises or conflicts that may arise in a particular region, as well as identify opportunities for collaboration or economic growth. This can be particularly useful in India’s relations with its neighbouring countries, such as Pakistan, China, and Nepal, where tensions and conflicts have historically been high.

One real-life example of India’s use of predictive analytics is in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been using predictive analytics to forecast the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, identify high-risk areas, and allocate resources accordingly. This has enabled the government to make informed decisions and take proactive measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Another example is India’s relations with China. Predictive analytics can help India to anticipate potential conflicts and identify opportunities for cooperation with China. For instance, it can help to forecast economic trends and identify areas where India and China can collaborate to achieve mutual benefits.

Overall, the use of predictive analytics can help India to make more informed decisions about foreign policy. By employing machine learning algorithms and statistical techniques, India can generate insights that can inform policy decisions and help India achieve its foreign policy goals.

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)

NLP refers to a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that focuses on the interaction between human language and computers. It involves employing algorithms to scrutinize and comprehend human language in all its forms, encompassing speech, text, and other modes of communication. India is utilizing Natural Language Processing (NLP) to scrutinize diplomatic communication from other countries.

India is utilizing NLP to examine diplomatic communication from other countries, such as speeches, press releases, and official statements. By analysing this communication, India can obtain insights into the position of other countries on certain issues and anticipate their next moves. Here are some examples of how India is using NLP in foreign policy:

  1. Analysing speeches: India can use NLP to analyse speeches made by leaders of other countries, such as the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of China. By analysing these speeches, India can gain insights into the position of these countries on various issues, such as trade, security, and human rights.
  2. Analysing social media: India can also use NLP to analyse social media posts from leaders of other countries. This can help India gain insights into the public sentiment in other countries and the position of their leaders on various issues.
  3. Identifying trends: India can use NLP to identify trends in diplomatic communication from other countries. For example, if several countries are making similar statements on a particular issue, India can identify this trend and respond accordingly.
  4. Identifying emerging issues: NLP can also help India identify emerging issues in international relations. For example, if several countries are starting to discuss a particular issue, NLP can identify this trend and help India stay ahead of the curve.
  • Machine Learning in Foreign Policy

India is using machine learning algorithms to analyse economic and trade data to inform its foreign policy decisions. Machine learning is a subset of AI that involves training algorithms to make predictions or decisions based on data. In the context of foreign policy, India is using machine learning algorithms to analyse economic and trade data from other countries to gain insights into their economic policies and identify potential opportunities for cooperation or competition.

One example of how India is using machine learning in foreign policy is through its analysis of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI is a massive infrastructure project that aims to connect China to other parts of the world through a network of roads, railways, and ports. India has been critical of the BRI, citing concerns over China’s expanding influence and debt traps for developing countries.

To better understand the economic impact of the BRI, India is using machine learning algorithms to analyse trade and investment data from countries involved in the project. By analysing this data, India can gain insights into the economic impact of the BRI and identify potential areas of competition or cooperation. For example, India can identify countries which are experiencing economic growth due to the BRI and explore potential trade or investment opportunities.

Another example of how India uses machine learning in foreign policy is through its analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains. The pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, leading to shortages of critical goods and increasing demand for certain products. India uses machine learning algorithms to analyse trade data to identify potential opportunities to expand its manufacturing capacity and meet the growing demand for these goods.

  • virtual diplomacy

The use of AI in Indian foreign policy has become increasingly prominent in recent years, particularly in the context of virtual diplomacy. One real-life example of this is the use of AI-powered language translation software during high-level virtual meetings between Indian officials and their counterparts from other countries.

Language barriers can be a significant impediment to effective communication in virtual diplomacy, particularly when multiple languages are involved. However, AI-powered translation software can help overcome this barrier by providing accurate and near-real-time translations of spoken or written language.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual diplomacy became the primary mode of communication between Indian officials and their foreign counterparts. To facilitate effective communication, Indian diplomats used AI-powered language translation software during virtual meetings with officials from other countries.

For example, during a virtual meeting between the Indian External Affairs Minister and his Chinese counterpart in September 2020, AI-powered language translation software was used to provide real-time translations of their respective speeches. This enabled the officials to communicate effectively despite the language barrier, facilitating smoother discussions on a range of bilateral and regional issues.

In addition to language translation, AI can also be used to analyse social media data, providing Indian diplomats with insights into public opinion and sentiment on various issues. For example, AI-powered social media analysis was used during India’s successful bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2020. By analysing social media data, Indian diplomats were able to understand the perspectives of different countries and build alliances in support of India’s bid.

  • cybersecurity

The use of AI in Indian foreign policy has significant implications for cybersecurity, as cyber threats pose an increasing risk to national security and foreign policy interests. AI-powered cybersecurity tools can assist Indian policymakers in identifying and mitigating cyber threats, protecting sensitive information, and promoting safe and secure online interactions with other countries.

One real-life example of the use of AI in Indian foreign policy for cybersecurity is the Indian government’s adoption of AI-powered threat intelligence tools. These tools use machine learning algorithms to analyse large volumes of data from a variety of sources, including social media, news reports, and cybercrime databases, to identify potential cyber threats.

In 2018, the Indian government launched the Cyber Swachhta Kendra (CSK), a botnet cleaning and malware analysis centre that uses AI-powered tools to detect and remove malware from infected devices. The CSK has helped to protect Indian citizens and organisations from a range of cyber threats, including phishing attacks, malware, and botnets.

Another example of the use of AI in Indian foreign policy for cybersecurity is the development of AI-powered intrusion detection systems (IDS). IDS can help identify and alert Indian policymakers to potential cyber threats in real-time, enabling them to take proactive measures to prevent cyber attacks.

These systems can analyse network traffic and detect anomalous behaviour, such as unauthorised access attempts or suspicious data transfers, that could indicate a cyber attack.

Partnership in AI

India’s relationships with other nations in the AI sector are characterised by collaboration, partnerships, and competition. India has established partnerships with several countries to leverage their expertise in AI research and development, exchange best practices, and foster innovation.

One of India’s significant collaborations is with Japan, where both countries have established the “Japan-India AI and IoT (Internet of Things) Joint Working Group.” The working group aims to collaborate in AI and IoT research and development, exchange experts and researchers, and foster innovation in the field. Similarly, India has collaborated with the United Kingdom to establish the “UK-India Tech Partnership,” which focuses on collaboration in several areas, including AI.

In addition to collaborations, India has also established strategic partnerships with several countries in the AI sector. For example, India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russia to develop AI and related technologies. The MoU aims to promote scientific and technological cooperation in AI research and development, including joint projects, exchanges of scientists and specialists, and training programs.

Moreover, India has also established partnerships with several countries in the form of joint ventures, investments, and acquisitions. For instance, India’s leading technology firm, Infosys, has partnered with the French company, Dassault Systemes, to establish an innovation centre in Pune, India. The innovation centre focuses on developing solutions based on AI, cloud computing, and virtual reality.

India’s position in the global AI sector is characterized by a complex interplay of collaboration, partnership, and competition with other nations. While India has initiated multiple partnerships and collaborations with other countries to capitalize on their expertise in AI research and development, it faces stiff competition from formidable rivals such as China, the United States, and Canada, which have made substantial investments in the AI domain. This competition also extends to the development and deployment of AI-based products and services, which further adds to the complexity of India’s relationships with other nations in the AI sector.

To maintain its competitiveness in the global AI landscape, India must continue to invest in research and development initiatives related to AI and explore opportunities for establishing more strategic partnerships with other nations. Such multi-faceted approaches involving collaboration and competition with other stakeholders in the AI sector, including policymakers, industry experts, and civil society, are essential for India to position itself as a leading player in the domain of AI and leverage the vast potential of this transformative technology.

Challenges

India’s adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in foreign policy is challenged by several factors, including the absence of a comprehensive regulatory framework for AI, insufficient access to high-quality data, inadequate AI infrastructure, and ethical concerns.

The absence of a comprehensive regulatory framework for AI in India is a significant challenge in adopting AI in foreign policy. The lack of a regulatory framework that addresses the ethical and legal challenges posed by AI hinders the adoption of AI in foreign policy. For instance, The lack of comprehensive regulatory guidelines has presented India with difficulties in overseeing the use of AI-based social media analysis in elections. As a consequence, India has encountered challenges in regulating this technology.

Insufficient access to high-quality data is another challenge in India’s adoption of AI in foreign policy. AI models rely on large amounts of high-quality data for training and development. However, India has limited access to comprehensive data sets required to develop AI models. This lack of data can hinder the effectiveness of AI applications in foreign policy, such as AI-powered language translation software during virtual meetings between Indian officials and foreign counterparts.

Inadequate AI infrastructure is also a challenge in India’s adoption of AI in foreign policy. Building and maintaining robust AI infrastructure is essential for the effective implementation of AI in foreign policy. However, India currently lacks the necessary infrastructure required for AI implementation, which can slow down the adoption of AI in foreign policy. For instance, India’s limited AI infrastructure hinders the deployment of AI-based products and services in foreign policy, such as AI-powered social media analysis to gain insights into public opinion.

Furthermore, ethical concerns pose a challenge to India’s adoption of AI in foreign policy. AI systems can potentially exacerbate biases and discrimination, raise privacy concerns, and pose threats to human rights. For example, the use of AI-powered surveillance in foreign policy can pose threats to privacy and human rights. India needs to ensure that AI applications in foreign policy adhere to ethical standards and do not pose a threat to human rights and privacy.

In conclusion, India’s adoption of AI in foreign policy is challenged by several factors, including the absence of a comprehensive regulatory framework for AI, insufficient access to high-quality data, inadequate AI infrastructure, and ethical concerns. Addressing these challenges requires a multi-stakeholder approach involving policymakers, industry experts, and civil society. By addressing these challenges, India can unlock the potential of AI in foreign policy, improving decision-making, and enhancing its global competitiveness.

In summary, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in India’s foreign policy has become increasingly prominent, particularly in the context of virtual diplomacy. AI-powered language translation software has helped overcome language barriers during high-level virtual meetings between Indian officials and their foreign counterparts, facilitating effective communication and smoother discussions on various bilateral and regional issues.

However, India faces several challenges in incorporating AI into its foreign policy. The absence of a comprehensive regulatory framework for AI, insufficient access to high-quality data, inadequate AI infrastructure, and ethical concerns pose significant challenges to India’s adoption of AI in foreign policy. To tackle these obstacles, it is imperative to adopt a multi-dimensional strategy that includes the collaboration and participation of policymakers, industry specialists, and members of civil society. By addressing these challenges, India can unlock the potential of AI in foreign policy, improving decision-making and enhancing its global competitiveness.

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