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Indian Telecom Secretary Leads Delegation to ITU Headquarters in Geneva

New Delhi: Dr. Neeraj Mittal, Secretary of the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, spearheaded a high-level delegation to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Headquarters in Geneva from March 18-20, 2024. The visit aimed to bolster collaboration and explore innovative initiatives in the telecommunications and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors.

One of the significant highlights of the visit was Dr. Neeraj Mittal’s election as the co-chair of the Digital Innovation Board of ITU, formed under the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Alliance for Digital Development. This board, comprising Ministers and Vice Ministers of Telecom/ICT from 23 member countries of ITU, focuses on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in digital development to create a more inclusive and equitable digital future.

The ITU has initiated the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Alliance for Digital Development in response to significant unmet needs articulated in the Kigali Action Plan adopted at the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2022 (WTDC-22) and the Outcomes of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2022 (PP-22). The Alliance includes the Digital Transformation Lab, Network of Acceleration Centres, and the Digital Innovation Board.

Seventeen organizations worldwide have been selected to host Network of Acceleration Centres, with the Global Innovation Centre at ITU Area Office and Innovation Centre in New Delhi, India, coordinating the efforts globally.

During the visit, Dr. Neeraj Mittal held meetings with Dr. Cosmos Zavazava at the ITU Headquarters to discuss various initiatives, including scaling up ITU Area Office India and the Digital Transformation Lab. He also invited ITU to host the next meeting of the Digital Innovation Board in India alongside the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) 2024.

Additionally, bilateral meetings were held on the sidelines, including discussions with Japan and Bahrain. In the meeting with Japan, collaborations on AI, 5G use cases, and Quantum Products certification were proposed. Similarly, India and Bahrain decided to actively collaborate on ICT sectors, focusing on areas such as Artificial Intelligence, 5G use cases, Cybersecurity, and the development of Data Embassy.

Dr. Neeraj Mittal emphasized the importance of revisiting the MOU on ICT between India and Bahrain and proposed sharing India’s expertise on Fairness Assessment and Rating of Artificial Intelligence Systems and regulatory sandbox status notes.

The visit underscored India’s commitment to fostering international cooperation and leveraging innovation for inclusive digital development.

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