The Ministry of Communications released a press statement that said the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) South Asia area office and technology innovation centre will be established in New Delhi.
The Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, Mr Houlin Zhao recently announced the plan during the 4th BRICS Communications Ministers Meeting that was held in Durban, South Africa.
The International Telecommunication Union is a United Nations specialised agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). It consists of 193 countries and almost 800 private sector entities and academic institutions.
According to their website, the International Telecommunication Union allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and improve access to ICTs to underserved communities across the world.
The International Telecommunication Union said that today’s ICTs help manage and control emergency services, water supplies, power networks and food distribution chains. They support health care, education, government services, financial markets, transportation systems, e-commerce platforms and environmental management. The International Telecommunication Union brings the benefits of these modern communication technologies to people everywhere in an efficient, safe, easy and affordable manner.
The International Telecommunication Union local area office in India will significantly increase the availability of technological benefits for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are crucial for the development of India’s economy and employment rate.
The release said that India has been a member of the ITU since 1869 and has traditionally played a harmonising role in the deliberations and exchanges of the body. India is also a member of the International Telecommunication Union’s council.
The Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge), Mr Manoj Sinha, who was present when the announcement was made, said that the establishment of this ITU local area office will be an important milestone for India. It signifies global recognition of the progress the country has made in the field of ICT.
The local area office is expected to accelerate the structured implementation of the International Telecommunication Union’s development programs, focusing on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other similarly placed nations in the region.
Landlocked developing countries face special trade and development challenges, due to a lack of access to the sea and their geographical remoteness from international markets. Small Island Developing countries tend to share similar sustainable development challenges, including small but increasing populations, limited resources, inaccessibility to technology, susceptibility to natural disasters and their dependence on imports and exports.
The release noted that the International Telecommunication Union South Asia office will serve nine countries- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, in addition to the host country. Together, this accounts for nearly 24% of the global population.
Telecom Secretary, Ms Aruna Sundararajan said that the local area office will play a key role in organising the capacity and capability of building programmes for the region.