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Artificial Intelligence

India’s AI Strategy: A Data-Driven Dance



India’s approach to artificial intelligence (AI) is a carefully orchestrated balance between technological innovation, data governance, and national sovereignty. Central to this strategy is a data-driven vision, reminiscent of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government’s digital-first governance model. Early projects like Aadhaar showcased the potential of data-centric governance while navigating privacy concerns.

India is now doubling down on this model with the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, enabling the use of public data for AI training. Investments in data centers, chip manufacturing, and hardware infrastructure are constructing a robust foundation for a
data-powered future. Data localisation, the principle of keeping data within the country’s borders, ensures sovereignty, accountability, and regulatory control. This strategy initially targeted internet gatekeepers but now focuses on critical sectors like finance, geo-spatial data, and healthcare.

Interestingly, AI is viewed not as the primary regulatory target but as a catalyst for achieving data localisation goals. Modern AI can reduce privacy concerns by minimising human intervention in data processing, exemplified by autonomous robotic vacuums.

Looking ahead, India’s AI regulation will evolve, requiring robust institutional frameworks with standard-setting bodies and government approvals, particularly in high-risk public sectors. As data localisation progresses, regulations will focus more on specific datasets rather than AI tools themselves. Balancing innovation and risk management will be an ongoing challenge. However, India’s strategy shows a clear understanding of AI as a strategic asset.

India’s AI governance strategy prioritises both technological potential and societal impact. By choreographing data localisation, infrastructure development, and technological innovation, India is paving the way for an innovative and accountable data-driven future.