India, US sign joint declaration of intent for cooperation

New Delhi: Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit, India and the US Friday agreed to cooperate in the field of Information & Communications Technology and Electronics (ICTE) to facilitate, among others, the ambitious ‘Digital India’ programme aimed at transforming India into a digital-empowered society and knowledge economy.

The relevant Joint Declaration of Intent for cooperation in the field of Information & Communications Technology and Electronics (ICTE) was signed by Secretary in the Department of Electronics and IT R.S. Sharma, and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma.

The Intent will facilitate the ‘Digital India’ programme, electronic manufacturing, cyber security and several other such related fields between two countries, an official statement here said.

“This joint declaration of intent made for a period of next five years would help in strengthening industrial, technological, research & innovation and economic cooperation between India and the US in the ICTE sector,” the statement said.

It would also lead to US companies exploring opportunities for collaboration in India’s ambitious Digital India programme, electronics manufacturing and human resource development, through cooperation among private and public entities in a focused manner under the umbrella of the ongoing India-US ICT Dialogue, the statement added.

Later speaking to reporters, Sharma said VISA issue relating to Indian IT professionals should be treated as an issue relating to trade in services and not as an immigration issue.

The two countries at India US ICT Working Group meeting held Jan 14-15 in Washington, D.C. agreed to continue to explore the opportunities for collaboration on implementing India’s ambitious Digital India initiative, with the goal of enhancing digital infrastructure, deploying e-governance and e-services, and expanding the diffusion and use of ICT as a tool to expand economic opportunities, boost productivity, create jobs, and empower citizens.

Also broad agreement was also reached on the importance of policies that promote innovation in the ICT sector, facilitate the flow of data across borders, and foster the global and open nature of the Internet as a platform for economic growth.