India’s policy on data must focus on access, not physical location

In recent times, India, Japan and the United States have found themselves on the same side of the table, more often than not. So, when India declined to participate in the Osaka Track, the Japanese prime minister’s favourite initiative at the G-20 summit last month, it was something of an aberration.

Shinzo Abe wants to create a group of countries that will allow free flow of data across international borders. India declined, taking the view that such a conversation ought to take place under the WTO.  The real stumbling block was the Indian government’s seriousness on data localisation. Staying out of the Osaka Track was a prudent decision, but the Narendra Modi government’s presumption that data localisation is in the national interest requires a thorough reconsideration.

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