International Telecommunication Union elects India as co-chair of its Digital Innovation Board

Geneva: Dr Neeraj Mittal, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, led a high-level delegation to Geneva for a series of crucial meetings at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Headquarters from March 18-20, 2024. The visit focused on fostering collaboration and exploring innovative initiatives in the telecommunications and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors. The key highlights of the visit include:

India Leads Digital Innovation Board with Dr Neeraj Mittal as Co-Chair: Dr Neeraj Mittal was unanimously elected as co-chair of the Digital Innovation Board of ITU formed under the aegis of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Alliance for Digital Development. The Digital Innovation Board comprises of Ministers and Vice Ministers of Telecom/ICT of 23 Member Countries of ITU spanning Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has started Innovation and Entrepreneurship Alliance for Digital Development to respond to significant unmet needs of ITU Membership in the area of innovation, as 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 has three main vehicles: –

Digital Innovation Board

The Alliance establishes the Digital Innovation Board to provide strategic guidance, expertise and advocacy regarding its mission of building critical local enablers and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in digital development, to create a more inclusive and equitable digital future for all.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has selected 17 organizations from around the world to host Network of Acceleration Centres with the Global Innovation Centre at ITU Area Office and Innovation Centre, New Delhi, India to coordinate the efforts of Network Acceleration centres around the globe.

Dr Neeraj Mittal held meetings with Dr Cosmos Zavazava at ITU Headquarters early this week. Various initiatives pertaining to scaling up ITU Area Office India, Digital Innovation Board, Digital Transformation Lab, Acceleration centres, Global Innovation Centre in India were discussed during the meeting and a way forward was agreed upon. He invited ITU to host the next meeting of Digital Innovation Board in India alongside the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) 2024.

Increased participation of India in ITU Activities:

Dr Neeraj Mittal also chaired a review meeting at Permanent Mission of India in Geneva (PMI). Permanent Representative, PMI, Shri Arindam Bagchi and other senior officers joined the meeting. The meeting reviewed progress on critical milestones and efforts to increase participation of India in ITU activities with greater engagement of academia and Industry members from India.

Bilateral Meetings

A bilateral meeting between India and Japan took place on the sidelines of Digital Innovation Board Meeting at ITU Headquarters. The meeting was co- chaired by Dr Neeraj Mittal and Mr. Hiroshi Yoshida, Vice Minister, M/o Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan. The meeting reviewed engagements of India and Japan in telecom and ICT sector and the leaders proposed active collaboration on AI, 5G Use cases and Quantum Products certification between both the countries. Both stressed on the need to collaborate to develop a framework on trusted products and agreed to operationalize the sub working groups on 5G use cases and massive MIMO under India Japan Joint Working Group on ICT.

Dr Mittal invited Japanese Government and Industry Delegates to visit and participate in WTSA 2024 and India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2024 apart from various side events being organized with WTSA 2024 like ITU Kaleidoscope, Exhibitions, Conference on AI for Good Global Impact India, Network of Women, Workshop on Safe Listening with WHO, Hackathon.

The Telecom Secretary also co-chaired a bilateral meeting between India and Bahrain with Mr Mohammed Bin Thamir, Minister of Transport and Telecom of Kingdom of Bahrain at ITU HQ, Geneva on the sidelines of Digital Innovation Board Meeting. Both the countries decided to collaborate actively on ICT sector in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, 5G use cases, Cybersecurity, development of Data Embassy. Both agreed to revisit the MOU on ICT between the two countries that lapsed in 2015.

India proposed to share with Bahrain the TEC standard on Fairness Assessment and Rating of Artificial Intelligence Systems, status note on regulatory sandbox.

The visit underscores India’s proactive engagement in shaping the global telecommunications landscape and its commitment to leveraging innovation for socio-economic development.


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