In line with the statement made by IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna in August, the Government of India is laying the ground for a sovereign computer-based intelligence.
Krishna reflected that India must develop sovereign capability in artificial intelligence (AI) along with computing and data infrastructure. Speaking at B20 Summit, he said,
“You need a way for the government and private companies to be able to leverage that in a way unique to India,” said Krishna
Now, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar speaking at FE.com’s Digifraud & Safety Summit, 2023, said that the government has achieved tremendous success with digital public infrastructure (DPI) like Aadhar, and Unified Payment Interface (UPI), and India is looking to shape global trends and conversations in artificial intelligence.
He emphasized that an AI ecosystem driven by private players like Google and Meta is not enough, and there must be some sort of government-controlled AI ecosystem that he regarded as ‘Sovereign AI’.
“We are determined that we must have our own sovereign AI. We can take two options. One is to say, as long as there is an AI ecosystem in India whether that is driven by Google, Meta, Indian startups, and Indian companies, we should be happy about it. But we certainly don’t think that is enough,” said Chandrasekhar
“The only other way for sovereign AI is to have a government, not curated, or managed, or approved but a government-sponsored India database platform,” Chandrasekhar added
It’s worth noting that countries like France, UAE, and Singapore along with many European nations are thinking of executing the idea of a sovereign computer-based intelligence.
According to various media reports, the goal is to maximize economic growth by infusing AI into real-world applications such as agriculture, healthcare, and governance. The government can create an open-source multilingual model that can be utilized by both public and private sectors for various purposes.
Moreover, India’s sovereign AI program could be announced during the three-day Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Summit 2023 to be hosted in New Delhi from 12 to 14 December.
The government has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with IBM in AI skilling, and ecosystem development, as well as building advanced foundational models in generative AI capabilities. And counting on NVIDIA, the organization that has a long record of making the most developed design handling units (GPUs). The company is currently working with Indian majors including Infosys, Reliance, and TATA to develop India’s sovereign AI infrastructure.
In September, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang met Narendra Modi at his official residence in New Delhi. The government is also looking to build a 25,000 GPU cluster for INR 8000-10,000 crores. The project is expected to follow a public-private partnership model and the AI compute capacity will be provided to startups as a service.