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Carnegie India’s Global Technology Summit—co-hosted this year by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India—convened leading policymakers, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, academics, and technologists from around the world to deliberate over five days on five comprehensive sub-themes: the Geopolitics of Technology; Data: Linking the World; Digital Payments: The Future of Global Financial Highways; Digital Inclusion: Taking the Local to the Global; and Transforming Healthcare for a Post-Covid World.

The annual tech conference, with an overarching theme of ‘Geopolitics of Technology’ ran from Dec. 14-18, 2020, through knowledge transfer workshops, public panels, and closed-door sessions. The fully virtual conference was conducted in real-time on a custom-built, interactive platform that also enabled attendees and participants to network with each other, download reading material, and watch earlier sessions on demand.

The virtual summit was inaugurated with a keynote address by S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India. Prominent speakers included:

  • Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft
  • Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon
  • Julie Brill, Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft
  • Ashley J. Tellis, Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs & senior fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Axilor Ventures & former Executive Vice Chairman, Infosys
  • Melinda Claybaugh, Privacy Policy Director, Facebook
  • Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer, Serum Institute of India
  • Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization
  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former President of Estonia
  • Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog
  • Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Government of Nigeria
  • Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director – India, Facebook

Participants debated keenly on issues such as the role of multilateral institutions in the global governance of technology and building a health stack for India. Marquee speakers put forth path-breaking ideas, designed to impact policy decisions. Dr Jaishankar, in his inaugural remarks, stated that there was a need to press the ‘refresh’ button on the UN since the world today is ‘politically very different’, ‘more multipolar’ and ‘less structured’. The pandemic, its aftermath and the way forward for India and the world, found a prominent place in the discussions around financial inclusion, vaccine research, and digital cooperation. On the last day of the summit, Adar Poonawalla in conversation with Soumya Swaminathan, John Nkengasong, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, urged the government to indemnify vaccine manufacturers against frivolous complaints regarding the vaccine.

Other vibrant discussions focussed on fostering digital ties between India and the U.S., collaboration between India and Africa, as well as India’s emerging data architecture among many other topics at the intersection of technology and policy.

Watch the Global Technology Summit 2020 here.

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