New Work Plan 2023-2024 for the Indo-German Digital Dialogue

India

On 30 May 2023, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) signed the new Work Plan of the Indo-German Digital Dialogue for 2023-2024. During the virtual event, Indian Secretary Alkesh Kumar Sharma and German State Secretary Stefan Schnorr agreed to further promote a strong bilateral dialogue on digital policy matters.

State Secretary Schnorr (BMDV) and Secretary Sharma (MeitY) signed the new Work Plan 2023-2024. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

Representatives of both countries came together in a high-level meeting to sign the new Work Plan of the Indo-German Digital Dialogue for 2023-2024. The jointly agreed Work Plan will guide the activities for the next two years. As agreed in last year’s Annual Meeting, new topics were incorporated at the intersection of sustainability and digital transformation, such as green technology. State Secretary Schnorr (BMDV) and Secretary Sharma (MeitY) highlighted the relevance and impact of the Digital Dialogue for each country in their opening remarks.

To begin, Secretary Sharma presented the priorities of the Indo-German Digital Dialogue based on the previous Work Plan such as electronic manufacturing and public digital platforms. Sharma reaffirmed the significance of the dialogue as an instrument to facilitate a sustainable digital transformation. He shared that the cooperation with Germany is built on a high amount of trust and that Germany is amongst India’s most important partners.

State Secretary Schnorr specifically pointed out the successful cooperation activities within the Indo-German Digital Dialogue. This includes, for example, the memorandum of understanding between the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW e.V.) and the largest Indian software association NASSCOM. In addition, Schnorr mentioned the ongoing bilateral cooperation within the GovStack initiative. Through GovStack, both countries have been able to engage business associations in the digital development of the industry. Schnorr also referred to the successful cooperation between the MeitY Startup Hub and the German Indian Startup Exchange Program (GINSEP).

Concrete areas of cooperation

To ensure a results-oriented dialogue, both parties agreed on a concrete set of topics reflecting current priorities. The Work Plan states objectives within three topic areas. Within the field of (1) internet governance, data policy and IT security, the aim is to support multistakeholder governance of the internet and promote an accessible, stable and open internet. Furthermore, the dialogue aims to foster a better understanding of each other’s approaches to data policy and IT security. This goes along with promoting data ecosystems that enable a secure cross-border data flow, protect people’s privacy and support the development of a digital economy.

One focus within the area of (2) emerging technologies is to strengthen a shared understanding of the possibilities and risks of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Both countries would like to identify the need for policies to promote human-centred AI solutions in the sectors concerned on both sides.

An objective within the area of (3) digital business opportunities and models is to facilitate Indo-German trade through the promotion of start-up ecosystems in India and Germany as well as SMEs and Mittelstand partnerships. Another objective is to strengthen bilateral economic ties and investments in the electronics industry.

The dialogue is a long-lasting and productive partnership – State Secretary Schnorr (BMDV) and Secretary Sharma (MeitY) at the Annual Meeting 2022. © BMDV

The new Work Plan provides the foundation of the Digital Dialogue

The successful partnership of the Indo-German Digital Dialogue dates back to 2017 when the Indian and the German side signed a Joint Declaration of “Cooperation in the Field of Digitalisation – Empowerment and Economic Impact”. Both sides agreed to engage in a bilateral dialogue to promote stronger economic relations in the field of digitalisation and information and communication technology. The Digital Dialogue includes political and technical exchanges as well as delegation visits in both countries. As a multi-stakeholder platform, not only representatives from the responsible ministries are involved, but also relevant stakeholders from business, academia and civil society. With the new Work Plan signed, objectives and areas of cooperation are set for a promising and mutually beneficial future collaboration.

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