September 08, 2021

A Techno-Diplomacy Strategy for Telecommunications in the Indo-Pacific

By Lisa Curtis and Martijn Rasser

China’s rapidly expanding role in the development of telecommunications technology and infrastructure across the Indo-Pacific raises concerns about the future security of regional digital ecosystems; the coercive power China will gain by controlling these networks; and the impact on broader political trends in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Australia, Japan, India and the United States (the Quad) is well placed to find solutions to these complex geo-technological problems because of each country’s strong commitment to maintaining an open, free, transparent and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and the Quad’s constructive approach to finding practical multilateral solutions to international security challenges. As the Quad leaders prepare to meet for the second time in 2021, it is clear that dealing with the technology challenges from China should be high on their agenda.

There is growing recognition that a multilateral approach is required to deal with the challenges stemming from China’s growing digital influence.

While there is a need for the Quad to examine the development of emerging technologies – such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 6G wireless technology, and biotechnology – this paper explores opportunities for Quad cooperation specifically on 5G wireless technology and subsea fibre-optic cables. The authors chose to focus on 5G and subsea cables as these are sectors on which the Quad countries have already begun collaboration and
that provide immediate prospects for tangible Quad cooperation.

Read the full article from the National Security College.

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