(FinancialExpress) Professor Ashutosh Sharma, India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), holds a conversation here with Ishaan Gera. Dr. Sharma discusses India’s developments in quantum technology, and how the government is moving towards creating a holistic ecosystem.
Edited excerpts: Department of Science and Technology had started an initiative on quantum technology in 2018. In this, India first did a mapping of researchers in the country. To see who is working on what aspects of quantum technology, what kind of infrastructure or potential we have. And, what kind of human resources are there and how they need to be trained. Being a new area, you need to build from scratch. And, as you know, there are many applications of quantum that have emerged, which is quantum computing, communication, security or quantum key distribution, clocks, sensors, imaging devices, quantum material or superconductivity. And, of course, Quantum algorithms, which are now getting integrated into the new quantum mission.
Professor Sharma refutes an earlier article in the Financial Express that contends India is irretreviably lagging far behind in quantum computing. Gera asked: Are we lagging behind other nations in terms of quantum mission?
Professor Sharma explained: We are just beginning. Often in these frontier technologies, the nation didn’t invest the kind of resources that were needed. Semi-conductors and processors is one example. We have remedied that here. Our investment is comparable to what Europeans and Americans are doing. We are not going sub-critical. China, for instance, started a year or two ago. But we are not irreversibly behind.
We will also have a hub for policy regulation and ethics. We call it light and shadow of technology. In India, we are developing policy in consonance. Standards are also an important part. No matter what technology we develop, if we can’t figure out standards, we cannot sell it within India or globally. Globally, standards are driven by companies and not by governments.