Connectivity is not just a new buzzword for globalisation, but an important imperative for all economies seeking accelerated growth. With Act East Policy of India, there has been growing linkages and economic convergences between India’s North-East States and ASEAN Countries in recent years. On physical connectivity, we cannot avoid a reference to the flagship infrastructure projects that are in progress, including the Trilateral Highway connecting India’s Northeast to Thailand, the Dawei deep-sea Port in Myanmar, and the Kaladan multi-modal Transit Transport Project. The proposal to develop an economic corridor along the trilateral highway and the feasibility of its extension to the CLV region requires an action plan now.
We are no more limiting the concept of connectivity exclusively to physical connectivity, but also including digital and people to people connectivity to strengthen business linkages. The fusion of digital technologies and the increasing data centric industries is blurring the lines between the physical and digital spheres. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving Globalization 4.0, demonstrating once again the inextricable linkage between technology and economic development. Digital technology, infrastructure, platforms, and services would not only determine the direction and contours of global economy and the future of partnerships between the countries for trade and economic linkages.
Grappled by data necessity, the Government of India has been making efforts to turn India into a Global Data Hub through various policies and reforms. India’s data centre industry is expected to add 560 MW during 2021-23 leading to a real estate requirement of 6 million sq ft. As the data centre landscape continues to evolve, the industry is expected to grow exponentially to reach 1,007 MW by 2023 from 447 MW. There has been increasing emergence of data centres of ASEAN Companies leveraging renewable energy sources to increasingly power their data centres in India. With the growing reliance on digital connectivity, demand is likely to ramp up further due to the imminent roll out of 5G, IoT-linked devices, data localisation and cloud adoption.
The session on the Future of India- ASEAN Connectivity Partnerships at LEADS 2021 aims to prioritize various forms of connectivity between ASEAN and India, expanding, enriching, and diversifying them to ensure greater mutual benefit than in the past.
The author is Co-Chair, FICCI Steel Committee and Managing Director, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd
**This blog is a part of the ‘FICCI LEADS 2021: Reimagine the World’ series.