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Unveiling India’s Potential: World Quantum Day

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India marked World Quantum Day 2024 on April 14, 2024, reaffirming its vision to establish itself as a global leader in Quantum Science and Technology. This occasion underscores the nation’s commitment to leveraging quantum mechanics for transformative advancements across various fields.

Quantum Mechanics, the branch of physics exploring the behaviour of atoms and subatomic particles, has witnessed remarkable progress, transitioning from theory to engineering. This transition has led to a myriad of practical applications, from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and lasers to ultra-precise atomic clocks crucial for the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Recognising the immense potential of quantum technology, India has embarked on a journey to capitalise on this burgeoning field. Prof Ajay Kumar Sood, the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, highlighted the global impact of quantum technology, emphasising its role in driving economic growth and technological innovation. Quantum technology, he stated, is poised to revolutionise various sectors, from healthcare and materials science to communication and national security.

One of the key areas of focus in quantum technology is Quantum Computing, harnessing quantum mechanics principles to perform complex calculations at unprecedented speeds. These quantum machines have the potential to solve problems currently intractable for classical computers, ranging from drug discovery to cryptography.

In addition to Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication and Quantum Sensing are also emerging as crucial domains. Quantum Communication aims to leverage quantum principles to enable secure communication channels immune to eavesdropping. Quantum Sensing utilises quantum systems to achieve unprecedented precision in measurements, with applications ranging from navigation to medical diagnostics.

To advance awareness and appreciation of quantum science and technology worldwide, an international initiative led to the establishment of World Quantum Day on April 14th. This annual observance serves as a platform to celebrate achievements in quantum research and foster collaboration among scientists, policymakers, industry leaders, and the public.

Discussing India’s aspirations to excel in quantum technology, Prof. Sood expressed confidence in the National Quantum Mission (NQM). The NQM, conceptualised by the Prime Minister’s Science Technology Advisory Council (PM-STIAC), received Cabinet approval in April 2023 with a total outlay of ₹6003.65 crore (US$ 818.47 million) over eight years.

The National Quantum Mission aims to seed, nurture, and scale up scientific and industrial research and development in Quantum Technology (QT). By establishing thematic hubs in domains like Quantum Computing, Communication, Sensing & Metrology, and Materials & Devices, the mission aims to create a vibrant ecosystem for quantum innovation in India.

The implementation of the National Quantum Mission is spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), tasked with orchestrating synergistic efforts through a hub-spoke-spike model involving collaboration between Centers of Excellence (CoEs), consortia projects, individual scientist-centric projects, and industry partnerships.

One of the key objectives of the National Quantum Mission is to establish a consortium of academia and R&D labs in collaboration with startups and industry players. This collaborative approach aims to harness collective expertise and resources to accelerate the development and deployment of quantum technology.

Dr Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman of the Mission Governing Board, emphasised the significance of quantum technology in the digital economy and geopolitics. He stressed the need for India to seise opportunities presented by the quantum revolution and outlined the potential economic benefits of quantum computing on a global scale.

Furthermore, Dr Chowdhry highlighted the importance of quantum cryptography and encryption in safeguarding critical infrastructure. He reiterated the nation’s commitment to achieving predetermined standards in quantum technology through the National Quantum Mission.

India’s celebration of World Quantum Day 2024 underscores its commitment to harnessing the potential of quantum science and technology for transformative advancements. With initiatives like the National Quantum Mission, India is poised to emerge as a global leader in quantum research and innovation, driving economic growth, technological advancement, and national security in the quantum era.


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