The ITU South Asia Area Office and Technology Innovation Centre will be established in New Delhi as per announcement made by Houlin Zhao, Secretary General, ITU during the 4th BRICS Communications Ministers Meeting held in Durban.
Commenting on this announcement, Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge), Manoj Sinha said, “The establishment of 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. 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 account for nearly 24% of the global population.
Speaking about the ITU South Asia Office, Secretary (Telecom), Aruna Sundararajan said, “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.