NASSCOM visit in Germany: Promoting Indo-German digital partnership

India

To enhance business collaboration and foster innovation, the Indian software association NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies) visited Germany. Together with the Embassy of India in Berlin, the German Federal Association of Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW) and Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), they organised a networking event. It took place on 23 November 2023 at the embassy.

Dr Irina Soeffky (BMDV) acknowledging synergies between GovStack and IndiaStack. © Embassy of India Berlin

The aim of the event was to promote bilateral trade and investment in the technology and digital government sector of India and Germany. Representatives of the governments, industry leaders and pertinent associations participated in the networking event to explore partnerships for mutual growth and enhanced efficiency.

The event included insights from several speakers as well as a panel discussion. Dr Dinesh Antil, First Secretary Economic & Commerce of the Indian Embassy, advocated for an open digital economy in his opening remarks. He painted a picture of India’s global technological footprint, highlighting the country’s collaborations with both the Global South and the European Union, especially in digital public infrastructure (DPI). Finally, Dr Antil emphasised the great importance and potential of the Indo-German Digital Dialogue.

German Mittelstand meets Indian IT industry

Rachita Bhandari, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy, stressed the significant potential of Indo-German cooperation, with a spotlight on Germany’s demand for skilled professionals from India’s IT sector. She mentioned the Work Plan 2023-24 of the Indo-German Digital Dialogue that includes the topics of electronics manufacturing and business collaboration.

Dr Irina Soeffky, Head of Directorate National, European and International Digital Policy at the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), reflected that both Germany and India benefit from mutual learning. She also acknowledged the synergies between GovStack in the EU and IndiaStack – two initiatives committed to advancing the digital transformation of government services.

Shivendra Singh, Vice President & Head of Global Trade Development at NASSCOM, shed light on the export-orientation of India's tech industry. Singh highlighted the significant employment opportunities generated by German corporations in India, emphasizing the strategic alignment and mutual recognition of skill sets between the two countries.

Andreas Jahn, Board Member of BVMW, emphasised the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as the backbone of a country's economy as well as a driver for innovation. Furthermore, he underlined the untapped potential of bilateral collaboration within the IT and digital technology sectors.

Bhuwan Agrawal emphasised that the interoperability of DPI promotes international collaboration. © Embassy of India Berlin

The potential of DPI for accelerating Indo-German economic cooperation

A panel discussion with four experts followed, moderated by Marc Lendermann, Head of Bilateral Digital Policy and Digital Dialogues at BMDV. The panel focused on the potential of digital public infrastructure (DPI) as a catalyst for Indo-German economic cooperation.

Stefan Halusa, Director General of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC), pointed out that the public sector needs to establish a robust DPI framework, ensuring the interoperability, safety and accessibility of digital services. Halusa specifically stressed the value of Unified Payment Interface (UPI), an Indian instant payment system, which benefits smaller companies. He proposed that the public sector offers incentives for SMEs to actively participate in the DPI ecosystem.

Dr Robert Hermann, Director General of Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), illustrated various ways for enhancing international trade and investment through DPI. He mentioned Germany's Gigabit initiative aiming to expand 5G access and standards – crucial for Industrie 4.0. Dr Hermann also referred to GaiaX: This data ecosystem offers businesses an avenue to cooperate with a shared commitment to EU data protection standards. The de:hub initiative is a third example: It bundles digital hubs and facilitates interaction between Indian digital tech companies and SMEs in Germany.

Upen Barve, Vice President of the Future Hub at SAP, additionally outlined the value of DPI in promoting not only innovation, but also inclusion and accessibility in the digital ecosystem.

Bhuwan Agrawal, Regional Head of Central Europe at Tata Consultancy Services, emphasised that the interoperability of DPI is a catalyst for global trade. He also stressed that DPI can leverage the unique strengths of each country for mutual benefit - mentioning India's IT skills and Germany’s engineering talent.

In conclusion, the collaborative event showed that there is vast potential for further bilateral cooperation. The Indo-German Digital Dialogue will continue to facilitate multi-stakeholder exchanges and cooperations on the digital transformation of India.

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