Digital Policy Economy & Business India Technology & Innovation Trade United States and Canada
Issue Brief April 8, 2022

Technology for social good

By Uzair Younus

Growing cooperation between the United States and India in the digital realm presents significant opportunities in terms of investment, job creation, and deeper trade linkages. Deeper technological cooperation can also make a significant impact on improving social outcomes, particularly as they relate to empowering local communities by democratizing access. This cooperation has become even more imperative due to an evolving global strategic environment, in which change has been accelerated by the ongoing impact of the corona-virus pandemic.

The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center convened a number of experts to talk about how US-India digital cooperation can deliver social good, and ways in which key stakeholders—public and private—from both countries should think about achieving public-good outcomes.

The group discussed a whole host of potential areas of focus, including artificial intelligence, Web 3, semiconductors, and renewable energy. Also discussed were ways in which existing public infrastructure devel-oped in India—such as the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Aadhaar, and other components of India Stack—can be leveraged to deliver positive outcomes.

Key takeaways that emerged during these discussions were as follows.

  1. It is important to identify and prioritize areas of mutual interest between the United States and India, including climate change, supply-chain resiliency, and healthcare.
  2. Government and private-sector stakeholders should explore pilot projects that demonstrate ways in which technology can help deliver public-good outcomes.
  3. Public-private partnerships will be critical to piloting and scaling po-tential solutions, including in the provision of necessary financing and access to data for specific projects.
  4. Existing forums, such as the US-India CEO Forum, should be considered as mechanisms to explore new avenues, provided there are specific reforms.
  5. Additional conversations are required among key stakeholders to identify and prioritize areas of cooperation, such that there is buy-in and interest among both the governmental and private-sector players to showcase the public-good potential of current and emerging technologies.

The South Asia Center is the hub for the Atlantic Council’s analysis of the political, social, geographical, and cultural diversity of the region. ​At the intersection of South Asia and its geopolitics, SAC cultivates dialogue to shape policy and forge ties between the region and the global community.

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