The United States-India Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group, which promotes development of the ICT sector, met in New Delhi, on September 27th, 2016. The Participants noted that the Working Group aims to strengthen collaboration between the governments and private sector of the two countries in the field of ICT. Marking the occasion, the sides reviewed the deepening strategic partnership between India and the United States and their commitment to empowering citizens of both nations through increased access to the Internet and a thriving digital economy.
The United States congratulated India on its tremendous progress in becoming the world’s second largest population of Internet users and the world’s fastest growing Internet user base. Both sides discussed the accomplishments of the Digital India Programme in transforming India into a digitally empowered society and a key stakeholder in the knowledge economy. The two sides also discussed the Global Connect Initiative, launched by the U.S. Department of State to connect the next 1.5 billion people to the Internet by 2020. Participants resolved to continue collaboration with an aim to advance the goals of the Digital India Programme and the Global Connect Initiative.
U.S. and Indian government officials expressed their shared support of the multi-stakeholder model for Internet governance. India shared how it is working with its community of stakeholders and plans for participating in global Internet events, including hosting the next ICANN57 meeting in Hyderabad November 3-9. The two sides also discussed the upcoming World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly in Tunisia and the importance of the ITU adhering to its mandate and to respecting our joint commitment to the multi-stakeholder process for Internet governance.
The discussions underscored the importance of
- Promoting the flow of information;
- Taking advantage of the Internet to promote innovation in products, services, processes, organizations and business models; and
- Maintaining an enabling legal, regulatory and policy environment characterized by openness and transparency, stakeholder participation, non-discrimination, support for market competition, predictability, sound evidence-based policy making, and regulatory accountability.
The two sides also discussed issues relating to the international mobility of Indian skilled professionals and totalization issues.
The sides resolved to further deliberate through sub working groups on priority areas to provide a mechanism for continued engagement in the areas of (i) Internet of Things (ii) Standards and Electronics and (iii) Internet governance. They also resolved to hold digital video conferences to discuss the following areas: (i) Government procurement practices of ICT goods and services, (ii) Policy issues for unmanned aerial vehicles and (iii) e-Commerce.
The participants decided to hold the next ICT Working Group in 2017 in Washington, D.C.