The introduction of the National Quantum Mission is welcomed but several key concerns need to be addressed to ensure its success
One of the Mission’s objectives is to build sensitive magnetometers with atomic clocks for communications, precision timing, and optimising navigation systems.Another key objective of the Mission is to enhance quantum communication. It also lays a strong focus on developing Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and establishing quantum-secure communication at pan-India and global levels. There will also be a focus on developing capabilities in satellite-based secure quantum communication, which will cover a range of 2,000 kilometres between ground stations within India. To make India’s quantum research more accessible, the Mission has mandated the formation of four dedicated thematic hubs (T-Hubs), which will be set up in leading R&D academic institutes to facilitate the development of both hardware and software aspects of quantum science, which include quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum sensing and metrology, and quantum materials and devices. Apart from quantum software and hardware development, the Mission seeks to establish and nurture a quantum ecosystem in India. With this Mission, India plans to spearhead quantum technology development on a global level and carve a unique space for itself in the coming years. With the quantum revolution, nearly all industries will witness a wave of change—from new applications, to optimised business solutions, and to Quantum-secure communication—signalling the need for sustained adoption of these technologies.
With the Mission’s broad objectives in place, relevant agencies and industry must work towards developing a skilled workforce in emerging technology.Another measure to ensure the Mission’s success could be to foster collaborations between academia and industry. In the last few years, Indian universities like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT)-Hyderabad, and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)-Bangalore, have signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with IBM, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Infosys, etc. to develop quantum capabilities. However, these are a handful and many more such industry–academia partnerships must be chalked out to ensure the Mission’s success. Also, such collaborations should also be expanded to include tier II and tier III Indian universities and colleges. This will also help in bridging the gap between research and commercialisation. Initiatives such as joint research programmes, incubation centres, and industry-academia partnerships can be undertaken. Also, these efforts could be streamlined to nurture India’s quantum workforce. With the Mission’s broad objectives in place, relevant agencies and industry must work towards developing a skilled workforce in emerging technology. This can be done by offering specialised training programmes and courses, providing research opportunities, and supporting early-stage startups. India’s innovation ecosystem can only thrive when there are apposite regulations. India should create a supportive regulatory environment for quantum technologies to flourish. This includes ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights, setting up regulatory bodies to oversee the development and deployment of quantum technologies, and promoting the development of international standards for quantum technologies. Also, India should promote international collaborations. In the past, Indian companies and research labs signed MoUs with their technology counterparts in Australia, Israel, and Finland to spearhead the global quantum revolution and to also mark its place in this emerging technology. It should continue to collaborate with other leading nations and organisations in the field of quantum research and development. This can help to facilitate knowledge sharing, cross-border research collaborations, and the exchange of best practices.
Indian companies and research labs signed MoUs with their technology counterparts in Australia, Israel, and Finland to spearhead the global quantum revolution and to also mark its place in this emerging technology.By taking these steps, India can position itself as a global leader in the quantum space and pave the way for the successful commercialisation of quantum technologies in the future.
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Prachi Mishra is a Young Leaders in Tech Policy Fellow at the University of Chicago presently working at CSST for their quantum meta-ethics project.Read More +