Getting something ‘strategic’ out of Trudeau

Image result for pics of justin trudeau in india

(Justin & Modi)

Alright, so the arrival at Palam of the photogenic couple — Prime Minister of Canada and Mrs. Justin Trudeau with three young kids in tow, was  all but ignored by the BJP government. And, perhaps, his meeting and talks with the Indian PM, Modi, deserved to be pushed back to virtually the last day of his 6-day trip to India to show just how disillusioned Delhi is with Ottawa’s mollycoddling of sections of the half-million strong Sikh immigrant community that, while enjoying the salubrious climes of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, dream of a Punjab separated from India and emerging as they hope as the Republic of Khalistan. They’d have to be daft and have a lot of “khali sthan” between their ears to believe that will come to pass. So, that’s not the point.

What is, is whether having rightly shown displeasure, Modi will continue rubbing Trudeau’s nose in the Delhi dust to when the Canadian media travelling with their PM declares the visit  a complete washout, and Canadian press commentators begin seeding a new grievance, this time on the Canadian side, about Trudeau being egregiously insulted by the Indian government, which is bound to escalate to a full souring of bilateral relations.

Or, will Modi be the statesman and, after mentioning the obligatory issue of the Canadian leader needing strongly to discourage his small Khalistani support base, get down to brasstacks in their official talks on Friday Feb 23, and get something meaningfully strategic out of Trudeau.

There’s one thing highly strategic that Modi might care to put on top of his list of ask from his Canadian counterpart. There are not many computer hardware firms in the world  who have mastered quantum computers. There’s a Canadian company, D-Wave, that makes Q-computers.  Modi should ask that D-Wave be permitted by Ottawa to set up three or four Q-computer complexes in India and have the Q-computer architecture uploaded to the Cloud, as IBM has done with its Q-computer design, so that young Indians and specialized Indian agencies who cannot now access these very advanced computers of tomorrow and find themselves handicapped in their work, begin to gain competence in this new technology. It will be very good business for D-Wave, earn a pretty export dollar for Canada, and Modi can make clear that Delhi will treat this gesture as the Canadian government making amends.

For Justin Trudeau this’d make ample sense as well. After all, the strained Indo-Canadian cannot be sustained for long, and is bad international politics from Ottawa’s point of view. India is a huge big market and to alienate Delhi would be to lose for the Canadian companies access to a rich market, and even imperil such custom as firms like Bombardier generate in India sales (of their metro coaches, for instance).

The problem is how many people in the Indian govt and, specifically, in the PMO and in the NSA’s office, filled to the gills with old style policemen from Doval’s IPS cadre, even know what Q-computers are or, for that matter, quantum communications, or quantum satellites, or anything quantum? If all these worthies are innocent of even passing  knowledge of this technology, who is going to suggest to Modi that he ask for it?

Incidentally, just how strategic and still pretty rare is specialist knowledge on Q-computers, etc. may be gauged from the fact that there only three persons in all of India able to write algorithms for them, one of them working — and I mentioned this in a past blog — in China, helping that country gain algorithm-writing competence and otherwise assisting it to become a Quantum computing power based on his pioneering research in the field.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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15 Responses to Getting something ‘strategic’ out of Trudeau

  1. Would it not be better for Indian scientists to build their own Quantum computer, after all no one thought Indian would build a super computer so soon, when CDAC built it in Pune?

  2. sanman says:

    D-Wave is a pioneer in Quantum Computing, but its approach uses a very primitive technique called “quantum annealing”, which is the most limited and barely qualifies as quantum computing. It is however, among the easiest ways to build a quantum computing machine, so that D-Wave’s is the largest and having the most Qubits (quantum processing units). It’s for this reason that some large American entities like NASA, Google, and Boeing have bought D-Wave’s machines seeking to use them to solve complex problems.

    • sanman says:

      Meanwhile Canada’s Perimeter Institute are advanced thinkers in Quantum Computing theory, and perhaps India would benefit from academic collaboration and exchange with them.

    • &^%$#@! says:

      Quantum annealing isn’t primitive as you have stated. It obtains the solution by solving an optimization problem by invoking the adiabatic theorem. Thus, the cost function that needs to be solved has first to be transformed into a so-called Quadratic Unconstrained Binary Optimization (QUBO) form as is often done with the Ising model. OTOH the IBM machine uses “gates”. Further, it is Lockheed Martin and not Boeing that is using the D-Wave big time as is now VW..

      • sanman says:

        Fine, LM not Boeing – but nevertheless, the “quantum annealing” idea has been controversial and less in the mainstream of quantum computing.

      • &^%$#@! says:

        Pray, could you enlighten us with your deep knowledge as to how quantum annealing is a process is “controversial” I mean in technical terms, not Wikipedia terms.

      • no, we have the base,the thing is that these BABUS who give sermons as to what is good & bad for our National Security is something that is not acceptable at all,all these IFS & IAS Babus like Shiv Shankar Menon & Nirupama Rao have been just pallying upto the 10 janpath darbaar,now they are absorbing the BJP as well,however modi has kept himself out of the loop. This is what is Institutionalised Corruption of these Babus

      • sanman says:

        Easy on the snarky condescension – do you hold stock in their company, or are you just a pedant? (I sense the latter)
        I too have been following the progress of this technology, and there are plenty of skeptics. The company hasn’t shown robust proof of their machine’s superiority, and meanwhile the authors of the adiabatic paper on which D-Wave claims are based themselves say that D-Wave is misinterpeting their conclusions. Critics have shown that even classical computing methods are able to achieve the same speed as D-Wave or better. D-Wave’s machines are based on superconducting devices known as SQUIDs, and while they’re easier to build, it’s not clear that they’re able to reliably behave like genuine qubits. While quantum computers are supposed to be suitable for particular types of problems, the D-Wave machine also requires that problems be mapped onto its unique adiabatic architecture, so that its approach can be applied. It’s also not been shown that its architecture is able to scale up any alleged speed advantage for larger problems as well smaller ones. There you go, buddy – no Wikipedia required.

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @Sanman: Good reply. Will post my bit soon. Too much pent up work.

    • speaking in millitary terms, Quantum communications cannot be hacked, one scientist from india, which is known to Mr. Bharat Karnad has been give a 4 million $ package & a lab in China & he is making the chinese learn as to what quantum communication is

    • lest we forget the quantum photonic radar, being designed by moscow & beijing in collaboration right now

      • &^%$#@! says:

        True! The Indian conduct has pushed this collaboration closer. In any case, India lacks the base to absorb any of the technology.

  3. Siddharth Joshi says:

    Unfortunately nobody is going to give India anything that has dual purpose capability-the NPT lobby will argue that India will use the capability to carry out weapons test simulations. The Japanese could have helped in this area but then they are worried their technology will leak to the Russians through India-so currently a dead end there too. The Russians too are worried about their technology being leaked to the west through India. Strategic cul-de-sac?

  4. Rupam says:

    Bharat ji you mentioned there are only 3 persons in India being able to write algorithms in Q-computing, what would be your estimate on total no. of scientists being able to do the same in other major countries?

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