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How Far Has India Leapt in its Quantum Technology Development Efforts

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The Cabinet gave the go-sign for India's National Quantum Mission, by commencing its long-awaited journey toward becoming a quantum power. The Rs 6,003.6 crore program will aid India in developing its capacity for cutting-edge technology, which will ultimately exceed conventional computers with astounding speed in the future. With this, the nation has also established a goal for building up to 100-qubit quantum computers within the next five years.

Viewing the current stage of the country’s progress in quantum technology, it can be observed that the academic community, service providers, startups, and government involvement have all contributed to the rapid growth of the quantum technology ecosystem. As technology gradually advanced throughout the years, Indian companies moved to quantum technology. India's government designated quantum technology as a ‘mission of national importance’ in 2019. Since then, there has been a significant increase in public and defense spending on fundamental and applied research.

As a result, Indian technology companies have produced proofs of concept (POC) and highlighted quantum as a crucial opportunity to serve both Local and international clients. To meet the needs of the local economy and the obstacles, the local workforce (quantum) are constantly developing. By 2026–2027, the nation is positive that quantum technology will be prepared to create fault-tolerant quantum goods that can be employed with high technology, which would inevitably result in a growth in acceptance by Indian businesses.

India to Evolve as a Significant Market for Quantum R&D
Industries like manufacturing, banking, and defense are said to launch massive deployments of quantum technology. India may also evolve into a significant market for quantum R&D, software development, and equipment manufacture as part of global growth.

Even if companies view quantum computing as the holy grail, conventional machines will still be used. Enterprises, however, will make use of bits (classical), qubits (quantum), and neurons (AI-assisted programming), all of which are mobilized through a hybrid cloud architecture. Building a large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computer that protects qubits from heat, vibration, and stray atoms is now a top priority for Indian businesses.

The National Quantum Mission was approved by the Union Cabinet, which is presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. NQM will foster the nation's ecosystem while accelerating economic growth driven by quantum technology.

The noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) period had too few quantum bits (50–100 qubits) and lacked the error correction needed to carry out intricate calculations. Although it's difficult to predict when science will advance, recent advancements indicate that quantum technology will eventually become a reality. In the future, quantum can be included into chips that are built into goods to combat security concerns. More practical and inexpensive gadgets like quantum annealers and simulators will also be in demand.

Governmental Initiatives
To control the industry, the Indian government has tried to create organizations and initiatives for quantum technology. Nearly 100 government-funded initiatives related to quantum technology and related fields have advanced to various stages. In the next five years, commercializing quantum solutions that are high-technology ready is a shared objective of the businesses and the government. With the aid of infrastructure and human resources, the Quantum Information Science and Technology (QuST) initiative was pioneered by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

QuST will organize and provide funding for academic research groups to develop quantum goods in industries with the highest technology demand. It will also advance the neglected projects more quickly. For instance, the advancement of 8 qubit quantum computers, free space and fiber connectivity, and cryptography will be more crucial. In the meantime, the theory of quantum information systems as well as the creation of quantum algorithmic applications and sophisticated mathematical quantum approaches will evolve throughout time.

The investment program National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NMQTA), which seeks a greater investment and has challenging objectives, comes next. By the development of quantum clocks, sensors, imaging devices, quantum clocks, and highly secure quantum communication, NMQTA hopes to create quantum computers. Additionally, it will introduce smaller-sized gadgets like sensors and quantum simulators. QKD systems will be converted into field-deployable products in the interim. Using QKD in satellites and fibers will also make long-distance quantum communication a reality. The hype around 5G in India will be crucial to the emergence of the quantum internet.

India experienced a lot of significant quantum technology sector activities. Let's examine the government's most significant actions.

The Indian Army established a quantum computing facility and an AI center at a military engineering institute in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, in December 2021. The National Security Council Secretariat also supports it (NSCS). After presenting a QKD solution, the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) also opened a quantum communication lab in October 2021. Using a regular optical fiber, it can support distances of over 100 km.

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) decided to work together to create quantum computers in July 2021. To advance the development of quantum technology, the DST and approximately 13 research groups from IISER Pune established the I-HUB Quantum Technology Foundation (I-HUB QTF) in March 2021. In order to support research and development focused on quantum computing, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) also established a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in January 2021 in partnership with AWS.

Today, the Central Government authorized the Rs 6,003.65 crore National Quantum Mission (NQM) to support and advance scientific and commercial research and development in quantum technology. India is now one of the top six countries engaged in the study of and development of quantum technology.

The National Quantum Mission was approved by the Union Cabinet, which is presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. NQM will foster the nation's ecosystem while accelerating economic growth driven by quantum technology.

In eight years, the new mission aims to build intermediate scale quantum computers with 50–1000 physical qubits on a variety of platforms, including superconducting and photonics.

Among the mission's deliverables are a multi-node quantum network with quantum memories, inter-city quantum key distribution over 2000 km, long-distance secure quantum communications with other nations, and satellite-based secure quantum communications between ground stations over a range of 2000 km within India.

Atomic clocks for precise time, communication, and navigation as well as magnetometers with great sensitivity in atomic systems will benefit from the mission.

Additionally, it will aid in the design and synthesis of quantum materials for the production of quantum devices, such as superconductors, innovative semiconductor architectures, and topological materials.

For use in quantum communications, sensing, and metrological applications, single photon sources and detectors as well as entangled photon sources will also be created.

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