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India’s Quantum Leap Celebrated on World Quantum Day 2024

On April 14, 2024, India celebrates World Quantum Day, a global initiative to raise awareness and appreciation of quantum science and technology. As a nation aspiring to become a global leader in various fields of Quantum Science and Technology, India’s efforts have gained significant momentum with the launch of the National Quantum Mission (NQM) in 2023.

The Quantum Revolution

Quantum Mechanics, the study of atoms and sub-atomic particles, has advanced to the point where it is now being applied to develop innovative technologies. Researchers worldwide have utilized the principles of quantum physics to create groundbreaking applications, such as LEDs, lasers, and ultra-precise atomic clocks used in the Global Positioning System. Attention is now focused on controlling and manipulating quantum systems for Quantum Computing, Quantum Communications, and Quantum Sensing applications, ushering in a new era of technological advancements.

India’s Commitment to Quantum Technology

As a scientifically advanced nation, India recognizes the immense potential of quantum technology and its implications for national prosperity and security. The government, through the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC), has conceptualized the National Quantum Mission (NQM) to bolster India’s competitiveness in this critical field.

The National Quantum Mission (NQM)

The National Quantum Mission, approved by the Cabinet in April 2023, is a comprehensive eight-year program with a total outlay of Rs 6003.65 Crore. The mission aims to seed, nurture, and scale up scientific and industrial R&D, creating a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in Quantum Technology (QT). This will accelerate QT-led economic growth, nurture the ecosystem in the country, and make India one of the leading nations in the development of QT and its applications.

The NQM’s Thematic Hubs

The NQM envisages the establishment of four Thematic Hubs (T-Hubs) in key domains:

  1. Quantum Computing
  2. Quantum Communication
  3. Quantum Sensing & Metrology
  4. Quantum Materials & Devices

These T-Hubs will serve as centers of excellence, driving focused research, development, and innovation in their respective areas. The mission has already invited pre-proposals from academic institutions and R&D labs to establish these hubs.

Collaboration and Synergy

The National Quantum Mission is guided by a Mission Governing Board (MGB) chaired by Dr. Ajai Chowdhry, the founder of HCL Technologies. The mission is also assisted by the Mission Technology Research Council (MTRC), chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

The NQM will be a consortium of academia, R&D labs, startups, and industry, fostering a collaborative ecosystem to bring together talent and expertise from across the country. This synergistic approach is crucial for the development and translation of quantum technologies into real-world applications.

The Importance of Quantum Cryptography

Recognizing the need to address the potential threat posed by quantum computers to conventional encryption algorithms, the NQM places a strong emphasis on quantum cryptography and encryption. The development of Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) and Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) will be essential to ensure the security of critical infrastructure and institutions, such as banks and electrical grids.

World Quantum Day 2024: A Celebration of India’s Quantum Aspirations

The celebration of World Quantum Day 2024 in India coincides with the country’s ambitious plans to become a global leader in quantum technology. The government, through the National Quantum Mission, has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to seizing the opportunities presented by the quantum revolution.

India’s Principal Scientific Adviser, Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood, has highlighted the global impact of quantum technology, emphasizing its potential to enhance computing, communication, and sensing capabilities with significant implications for national prosperity and security. The government’s investment in the NQM underscores its determination to leverage the country’s strengths and build a world-class R&D capability in quantum technologies.

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