We all know India as a fierce rival when it comes to cricket. Yet, at the same time, India is also one of our closest and largest trading partners. Hence, there are many actual partnerships formed to foster collaboration between the two countries. And yesterday, a MoU was signed at the Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure (MTDI) between India and Sri Lanka.
What was this MoU about?
Signed between the MTDI and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEIT) of India on the 15th of January 2018, the Memorandum deals with improving the fields of Information Technology and Electronics, (IT&E). The memorandum was officially signed by the Minister of Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology, Hon Ravi Shankar Prasad, and the Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, Hon. Harin Fernando.
As per the MoU, a number of areas have been identified for future collaboration. These include e-Governance and m-Governance (with a special focus on rural areas for the latter) and cybersecurity. The MoU would also focus on collaboration on exploring B2B partnerships and also develop digital talents and enhance digital ICT literacy. This would also lead to increased cooperation in R&D and innovation with regard to the ICT sector between both the private and public institutions.
What was the reason for the MoU to be signed?
According to discussions held between India and Sri Lanka, a collaboration of this nature suggested that both countries would indeed benefit in the fields of information technology and electronics on a diplomatic level.
As part of the MoU and the partnership between India and Sri Lanka, the NIC (National Informatics Center) of India also introduced a model e-office application for the Government of Sri Lanka. In case you didn’t know, the e-Office is a project under the e-Governance Programme of India. It offers a simplified manner to carry out office procedures electronically in all Government offices.
More about the partnership
In addition, the signing of this partnership and MoU also saw the launch of a gigabit link between the National Knowledge Network or NKN of India and LEARN (the Lanka Education & Research Network). This high-speed network would be beneficial in sharing vast amounts of knowledge amongst the numerous academic and educational institutions present in both Sri Lanka and India.
Just to put things into perspective, at the launch, 16 Sri Lankan academic institutions under the LEARN umbrella participated. They were joined by 6 Indian institutions of NKN during the launch yesterday. At the launch ceremony, Hon. Harin Fernando gave emphasis on inviting private entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka to play an active in the implementation process. This was specially requested by the Minister to be a part of the proposed Joint Working Group.
The signing of this MoU has the potential to be the foundation of a fruitful partnership for both countries. As they say, good things take time. But with many government projects, the question is whether these good things will come in our time or at the time of our grandchildren? Only time will tell.