India Unveils Pioneering AI Sovereignty Plan: Rajeev Chandrasekhar Leads Charge

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In line with its digital public infrastructure (DPI) achievements, such as Aadhar and Unified Payment Interface (UPI), the government is now aiming to influence global AI discourse by developing India’s own sovereign AI infrastructure. This move is expected to solidify India position as an AI frontrunner, driving innovation and benefiting its citizens.


We’re determined to establish our sovereign AI, presenting two options. One is embracing the existing AI ecosystem in India, led by giants like Google, Meta, startups, and local companies. However, we deem this insufficient,” Chandrasekhar emphasized at FE.com’s Digifraud & Safety Summit, 2023. He sees an opportunity for India to develop a distinctively sovereign and unique AI, such as India DPI, to bolster the nation’s technological independence and innovation.

Preview AI infrastructure

To create extensive language models and datasets, anonymized personal data is needed. However, due to the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act imposing strict limitations on data processing for privacy reasons, companies face challenges. The government’s involvement becomes crucial for meaningful dataset utilization. With the Act’s privacy constraints, leveraging datasets becomes feasible only through government intervention, ensuring compliance and enabling productive use for developing expansive language models.

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Chandrasekhar outlined another approach for sovereign AI—a government-backed countries database platform. He mentioned plans to establish it as a Section 8 non-profit or a public-private partnership. This initiative aims beyond competing with generative AI models. Instead, it prioritizes real-world applications in healthcare, agriculture, governance, and language translation to drive economic growth alongside sovereign AI and an AI compute infrastructure.

The government recently inked an MOU with IBM, focusing on AI skill development and advancing generative AI models. Additionally, NVIDIA collaborates with Indian entities like Infosys, Reliance, and Tata to bolster sovereign AI infrastructure. Chandrasekhar noted the comparison with the EU and US AI legislation approaches. He highlighted a hybrid strategy, combining citizen rights protection akin to Europe and market-focused regulations like the US. India aims for a balanced approach in shaping AI-specific laws.

Regarding deepfake concerns, the minister highlighted the government’s stance: a firm zero-tolerance approach toward platform-based violations. During a recent meeting with social media and internet platforms, the government reiterated Rule 3 (1) (b) (v) of the IT Rules. This rule mandates platforms to curb misinformation to avoid potential prosecution and loss of safe harbor protection. The government is actively holding these platforms accountable for any misinformation on their platforms.

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