India accelerates IBSA digital momentum

During this year G20 presidency, India positions itself as a global digital leader around the international deployment of India’s success story around Aadhar system and Digital Public Infrastructure.

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In a prediction for 2023, Jovan Kurbalija wrote that India’s G20 presidency would mark the start of IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) digital momentum. India’s G20 presidency has been marked by positioning India as the ‘third pole’ in digital geopolitics dominated by China and the USA. In carving this position, India can offer developing countries a successful example of India’s “Digital Public Infrastructure” (DPI) consisting of a triad of identity, payments and data management applications. According to the IMF, DPI saves 1.1% of GDP annually and is a critical system during a pandemic emergency.

Philippines, Morocco, Ethiopia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka, among others, started using the Modular Open Source Identity Platform (MOSIP), an export version of the Indian identity system Aadhar. MOSIP is free, modular, and open-source. It does not come with attached strings like many other platforms and applications. Indian companies are likely to benefit from maintenance and development contracts. This way, India wants to foster a ‘third way’ or digital non-alignment.

During the G20 presidency, India hopes to pull through two proposals: an international definition of DPI and a multilateral funding scheme for financing the deployment of DPI in developing countries. It remains to be seen how strong endorsement for DPI India will receive during the G20 summit in September. It will also be the first major test for IBSA digital momentum.