On March 31, Sachin Pilot, India’s Minister of State for Communications and IT, asked Canadian companies to invest in India to take advantage of the IT revolution in the country. He was on an official visit to Canada, after having spent a week in the USA and having sought ways to fire Indo-US collaborations to the next level.
Pilot met with leaders of Canadian companies such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) to discuss investment opportunities related to cyber security. “There is huge scope for Canadian IT companies in India’s telecom sector because of its ongoing exponential growth,” Pilot said (also please read our cover story on new FDI policy). He pointed out that India’s IT and BPO exports had touched USD 60 billion, but Canada’s share remained a fraction at just USD 600 million. “I say this is low by Canadian standards,” Pilot said. He pointed out that the Indian telecommunications and IT sector will need investments to the tune of nearly USD 400 billion in the coming years, offering huge prospects for foreign players in both software and hardware. He said a task force on IT had come up with a comprehensive report to turn India into a software and hardware hub.
One of the high points of his visit was the keynote address he delivered on March 27 at the annual Wharton India Economic Forum organized by the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, an institution where he had studied a decade back
Pilot, after Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Kamal Nath, is the second federal minister to visit Canada this year. Their visits follow visits by several Canadian ministers and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to India last year.
Earlier, Pilot was in the USA (Washington, New York, Philadelphia) between March 24 and 30. One of the high points of his visit was the keynote address he delivered on March 27 at the annual Wharton India Economic Forum organized by the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, an institution where he had studied a decade back.
On March 30, he addressed a round table organized by the US India Business Council (USIBC) attended by representatives of over 100 companies keen on strengthening their relationships with India. He also met with members of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest US body representative of small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector. He also met with senior White House and US Department of Commerce officials. Among the areas with potential for cooperation that came up for discussions were healthcare and skill formation. Discussions were held on cyber security, with emphasis on coping with cyber terrorism. Several officials called on him, among them two Indian Americans—Aneesh Chopra, federal chief technology officer and Vivek Kundra, federal chief information officer. Others included Under Secretary for international Trade Administration, Francisco Sanchez, and the senior adviser for innovation to the US Secretary of State, Alec Ross.
He spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Study (CSIS) on India’s determination to use technology to serve masses, describing some key initiatives undertaken to make healthcare accessible and affordable in remote rural areas. He mentioned the use of mobile telephony for financial inclusiveness. For a country whose average age is rapidly going down, the 29-year-old Pilot turned out to be an able ambassador for India.