India and the European Union struck a new digital partnership to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the region.
India Inc.’s India-EU Strategic Dialogue Series, backed by key players like Microsoft and McKinsey, kicked off in Brussels with a focus on ‘Delivering Smart Communities’ as part of the Modi government’s Digital India drive.
“The European Union has done remarkable work in the field of cyber security, innovation, start-ups, digital governance, e-governance. Here are some of the issues where we can profitably learn from the experiences of European Union and its team member countries,” said Indian IT and communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in his inaugural address at the event.
“India and the EU have lot of things in common. Both of us are democracies, both of us are open societies, both of us respect freedom of a speech, of association and above all creativity… We (India) are also promoting innovation, lot of new start-ups are coming. I am very happy to inform my friends in Brussels that smart phones have got the largest consumption in India after the US,” he noted.
The Digital India Roundtable in Brussels, supported by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Germany-based IT solutions entity SAP, focussed on the potential of India-EU collaboration in the field of technology and innovation as well as collaborations to create smart cities.
“The EU must look at India beyond an offshoring market and more as an innovation co-creation partner. India’s experience of scale provides a big leapfrog opportunity,” explained Arvind Gupta, national head of the BJP’s IT Cell.
Europe, among the largest outsourcing economies in the world, contributes almost 33 per cent to the global offshore IT sector. Indian IT majors TCS, Infosys and Wipro have in the last year alone struck a series of long-term deals worth millions of euros across Europe.
“Digital India is an absolute must for the people of India and an absolute opportunity for the people of Europe. Our shared values of democracy and an open society will underpin this partnership,” said Manoj Ladwa, India Inc. chief executive.
The event in Brussels brought together all the key players within the European IT industry and was attended by the Indian ambassador to the EU, Manjeev Singh Puri, as well as key players from the European Commission’s communications team.
Manjeev Singh Puri, ambassador of India to the EU: “The two areas where where the EU should be playing a critical role is Make in India and Digital India. India is hugely open for cooperation in both these areas.”
R.S. Sharma, secretary in the Indian government’s Department of Electronics & IT (DietY), joined the conference via live Skype link-up from Hannover in Germany, where he was part of Modi delegation.
He said: “The Prime Minister’s vision is very clear: the entire government should be on the mobiles of every citizen. India is leapfrogging to true digital democracy.”
Robert Madelin, director-general of DG Connect in the European Commission, said: “India needs to be a louder partner in e-governance. It remains high priority on our side and in future I see huge scope in EU-India cooperation in the European Digital Single Market strategy.”
Watch video: Indian IT minister clicks off India-EU Digital driveTagged: Narendra Modi, Information Technology, Digital India, TCS