If we were to look at the departures’ screens at any major Indian airport, we are likely to see a pattern - Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah appear repeatedly on the flickering displays. Many resident Indians have started using Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah airports to connect via the UAE onto flights bound for Europe, North America or Africa.
With the UAE being India’s gateway to the world, the two are also developing a strategic alliance that could reshape geopolitics across South Asia and the Middle East. The UAE and India mutual appreciation looks set to get stronger, with the latter agreeing - for the first time - to set up an Institute of Technology in the UAE.
A world of robotics
Robotics has successfully taken over the global tech market with automation and AI. There is already an AI race at the global level. Now, there is a robotics race, where different countries are competing for government funds and tech startups. It is in this area India and UAE look like ideal partners who can mutually leapfrog into the fourth pillar of the economy – cutting-edge technology. All the possible synergies in such a partnership match up.
According to a study by Oracle, the UAE, India and China are taking rapid leads in the global adoption of robotics. The UAE is already using robots extensively in healthcare, banks, and for public services. Focusing on robotics as a discipline, India has become a great place for its study, R&D, and prospective applications. India also has tremendous potential to implement robotics in the manufacturing sector.
With initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, robotics can draw global investments into India, transforming it into a genuine hub of such expertise. On their part, the governments of India and the UAE are doing their share to speed up acceleration of the fourth industrial revolution in this region.
Building blocks to robotics
The public-private partnership would need to look at more medium- to long-term strategies that could focus, among other areas, the field of robotics. The UAE already has a National Strategy for AI 2031. Dubai, on its part, has launched The Dubai Robotics and Automation Program.
India and its government and private sectors can play a role by setting up entities that can assist in the training, grooming and mentoring young Emiratis to scale up rapidly in this area. If the big Indian private sector firms and groups based in the UAE can create forward thinking programs that help both the nations, the benefits could be far reaching.
If specially designed programs of international standards are created by Indian institutes - specifically to speed up AI and robotics - the multiplier effect could be huge.