The Narendra Modi government had absolutely isolated Pakistan within the SAARC for sponsoring terrorism through its active and aggressive diplomacy. Now, the government has excluded Pakistan from a game-changing initiative meant for the SAARC family.
India will be connecting SAARC nations with its state-of-the-art National Knowledge Network (NKN) for sharing scientific databases and remote access to advanced research facilities, but Pakistan has become the only SAARC nation to be excluded from this.
The Modi government has kicked off the process of appointing a telecom company that will connect and extend the NKN to research and education networks in six SAARC countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
NKN is a multi-gigabit pan-India network which facilitates the development of India’s communications infrastructure, stimulates research and creates next generation applications and services. It enables collaboration among researchers from different educational networks such as TEIN4, GARUDA, CERN and Internet2. It also enables sharing of scientific databases and remote access to advanced research facilities.
The NKN will connect all universities, research institutions, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across the country. The leading mission oriented agencies in the fields of nuclear, space and defence research are also part of NKN. To strengthen research facility in various critical and emerging areas for NKN community, the network has established its international points of presence or PoP in Geneva Amsterdam and Singapore, and plans to soon establish a PoP in New York too.
The NKN will be connected from Afghanistan to Delhi or Mumbai, from Bangladesh to Kolkata or Delhi, from Bhutan to Kolkata or Delhi, from Nepal to Kolkata or Delhi, from Maldives to Chennai or Mumbai and from Sri Lanka to Chennai or Mumbai. A state-of-the-art management centre and Network Operations Centre will also be set up to run the network. The connection from Afghanistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka to India would be through a submarine cable for international connectivity.
This is diplomacy and raising one’s clout on the global stage at its best. Unlike China which uses money to trap small nations in debt and then force them to extort further gains, this move by India will genuinely benefit the smaller and less technologically advanced nations.