New Delhi: The ITU South Asia Area Office and Technology Innovation Centre will be established in New Delhi. This was announced by Houlin Zhao, Secretary General (SG) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), during the 4th BRICS Communications Ministers Meeting held in Durban, South Africa recently. ITU is a United Nations specialized agency for Information and Communication Technologies, with a membership of 193 countries and nearly 800 private sector entities and academic institutions.
Commenting on this announcement, Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge), Shri Manoj Sinha, who was present when the announcement was made, said – “The establishment of this ITU local area office will be an important milestone for us, as it signifies global recognition of the progress we have made in the field of ICT. It also places on us the responsibility to work with our neighbouring countries to take the benefits of the rapid developments in this technology-driven industry to our people in the South Asia region.’
As a member of the ITU since 1869, India has traditionally played a harmonising role in the deliberations and exchanges of the body, always respecting the core principles of equality and consensus-building. The country has also been a regular member of the ITU Council since 1952. The ITU South Asia Office will serve nine countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, in addition to the host country – which together accounts for nearly 24% of the global population.
In this connection, Secretary (Telecom), Ms. Aruna Sundararajan added – “This local area office will play a key role in organising capacity and capability building programmes for the region, and in accelerating the structured implementation of ITU’s development programs with focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Land-Locked Developed Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other similarly placed nations in the region.
The ITU Local Area Office will also impart a significant boost to technological reach and benefits for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which act as catalysts in the inclusive growth of a region’s economy and employment. “We are thankful to our neighbouring countries for supporting the establishment of this office in India, and look forward to further strengthening our partnership with them”, concluded Shri Sinha.