A Two-Faceted Technological Development

5G technology is a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. 5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. This wireless technology is meant to deliver higher multi-gbps data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users. Higher performance and improved efficiency empowers new user experiences and connects new industries.

5G is the new and upgraded wireless communication invention that the global industry has chosen to continue ahead as the future of data transfer and connectivity.

For India, the constantly evolving need for higher speed, along with plans for smart cities, industrial automation, connected devices, etc., make 5G unavoidable. So, it becomes critical for both operators and the Government of India to develop and adopt it in a speedy and efficient manner. To take this forward, India and Japan have finalised a pact which requires cooperation in 5G technology, critical information infrastructure and artificial intelligence, among other things. After a meeting between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi in Tokyo, it has been announced that Japan agreed to be a key partner in the Indo-Pacific Initiative.

While the country is looking forward to and making plans of adapting to a technology never seen before, an essential state of India lurks in the dark with restricted internet access barely making 2G accessible.

August 5, 2020 marked a year of restricted and mostly, zero internet connectivity for Kashmir. On 5th August, 2019, the Indian Government shut down all communication in the Union Territory, in order to maintain security as a preventive measure against any mobilisation of anti-state elements.

A year later, the ban on high-speed 4G remains in place and compels one to question: have the “preventive measures”, had any impact, at all?

As of 16th of August, 2020, 4G internet services were restored only on a trial basis in 2 districts of Jammu and Kashmir. The Central Government has also defended the communication and internet blockades and has claimed ‘the slow 2G network service was enough to aid digital education and provide crucial public services during the coronavirus pandemic’, according to PTI. The government also asserted that there have been no restrictions on accessing any websites.

With all this in mind, a central question remains, when different parts of the country are making plans to embrace the new technology of 5G services, is Jammu and Kashmir not virtuous enough to develop its resources with the rest of the country?

Fayeza Asad 

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