India, US to Collaborate on Digital India Initiative

By Arun Kumar

India and US have 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. The initiative is also aimed at expanding the diffusion and use of ICT as a tool to expand economic opportunity, boost productivity, create jobs, and empower citizens, according to a joint press statement issued after a two-day meeting of a joint working group.

The US-India Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group promotes development in the ICT sector for mutual benefit. The Participants noted that the ICT Working Group aims to strengthen collaboration between the governments and private sector of the two countries in the field of Information and Communications Technology. During the two-day working group meeting, US and Indian government representatives held extensive discussions on ICT and telecommunication policy issues.

These focused on accelerating broadband deployment, aligning spectrum policy for the mobile era and exchanging views on internet governance and best practices in ICT and telecommunications regulatory policy. They also discussed issues relating to the international mobility of Indian skilled professionals, the joint statement noted. The Joint government-and-industry discussions included panels on promoting manufacturing and investment; IT and telecom policy developments; Internet governance; mobility of skilled professionals and other issues related to trade, investment, and the ease of doing

A panel of non-government experts also shared insights on strategies that may help India achieve the goals outlined in the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives. Broad agreement was 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, according to the joint statement.

Participants agreed to continue discussion of policies that stimulate rapid diffusion and use of ICT products and services and facilitate cross border trade that reduces costs to consumers and businesses. In this context, the US side noted the Indian concerns with regard to mobility of skilled Indian professionals, and agreed that the US government will continue to engage on visa issues for skilled professionals. In addition, the Indian side noted the US concerns relating to equipment testing and certification, and agreed to engage on issues relating to equipment testing.

Daniel A. Sepulveda, Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the US Department of State and R.S. Sharma, Secretary of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, led the US and Indian delegations, respectively. The US and India plan to hold the next US-India ICT Working Group in India later this year. (IANS)

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

communicationDaniel A. SepulvedaDigital IndiainformationinsightMake in IndiaR.S. Sharmatechnology