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India ranks third in aero engines, hypersonics; fourth in drone tech: Report

ASPI report shows China leads the world by far in critical technology

India drones Representational image | Bhanu Prakash Chandra

With cutting-edge critical technology being touted as the world’s power symbol, India figures in the top five positions in 29 such technologies out of the 44 being studied in a report released on Thursday by the prestigious Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

In the specific domains of defence, space, robotics and transportation, India ranks third in aero engines including hypersonics, and fourth in the realm of drones, swarming and collaborative robots.

But China dominates the skyline in the strides made in scientific and research breakthroughs in critical technology by topping the list in 37 out of 44 critical technologies, followed by the US which tops in just seven areas.

The ASPI report says: “Our research reveals that China has built the foundations to position itself as the world’s leading science and technology superpower, by establishing a sometimes stunning lead in high-impact research across the majority of critical and emerging technology domains.”

In the field of military and allied technologies, China leads the world in advanced aircraft engines (including hypersonics), drones, swarming, collaborative robots, autonomous systems operation technology and advanced robotics, while the US led in small satellites and space launch systems.

“Unchecked, this could shift not just technological development and control, but global power and influence to an authoritarian state where the development, testing, and application of emerging, critical and military technologies isn’t open and transparent, and where it can’t be scrutinised by independent civil society and media,” the report added.

In August 2021, China took the US, and the world by surprise, when it flew a hypersonic missile around the world in low-orbit space before hitting its predestined target.

Besides aero engines and hypersonics, the other critical technology areas where India is placed third included coatings, advanced explosives and energetic materials, critical minerals extraction and processing, distributed ledgers, advanced data analytics, machine learning, protective cybersecurity technologies, advanced integrated circuit design and fabrication, natural language processing (including speech and text recognition and analysis), supercapacitors, photovoltaics, biological manufacturing and photonic sensors.


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