India’s digital ecosystem is undergoing a historic evolution: Taranjit Singh Sandhu
WASHINGTON: India’s digital ecosystem, backed by a thriving startup culture, is undergoing a historic evolution and American companies should act quickly to benefit from this new-found opportunity, New Delhi’s top diplomat in the US has told a powerful Silicon Valley body.
Under the Prime Minister’s (Narendra Modi) Digital India initiative, India’s digital space is witnessing rapid transformation, India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said on Tuesday in his address to the annual Washington DC trip of the powerful Bay Area Council.
The whole B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-consumer) ecosystem, is undergoing a historic evolution, backed by a thriving startup culture.
It is estimated that by 2023, India will have a connected market, of up to 700 million smartphones, and about 800 million internet users, he said.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the annual Washington DC visit of the Bay Area Council is being held virtually.
Prominent speakers to the annual event include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, other several powerful lawmakers including Senator Dianne Feinstein and Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
During their interaction with Sandhu, the only ambassador to address the annual event of the Bay Area Council, technology and innovation partnership emerged as a key area of cooperation between two sides and there were lots of interest on both sides to enhance engagement on the issue.
In his remarks, Sandhu told members of the Bay Area Council that India also has a large untapped market for financial services.
India sees mobile technology, fintech and a cashless society as key to financial empowerment, and inclusion.
Certain estimates project that the fintech market, in India, that includes regular retail banking, to e-commerce, may become a trillion dollar market, by 2023, he said.
US companies, he noted, have already taken a keen interest in the Indian tech space.
Several companies, especially from the Bay Area, have acted quickly to benefit from this new-found opportunity.
In the last few months, notwithstanding COVID-19 pandemic, US West Coast has committed more than USD 18 billion in investment, in Indian digital markets.
This includes Facebook’s USD 5.7 billion, Google’s USD10 billion in addition to investments, by QUALCOMM, Silver Lake and Sequoia Capital, he said.
Observing that cyber security issues that confront India and the US today, include national security concerns, Sandhu said they collectively need to fight this common challenge, and continue to promote the Internet, as an engine for innovation, economic growth, and trade and commerce.
Referring to the recently held Quad summit, he said one of the quad joint working groups is on critical technology.
This is an acknowledgement of the fact that Quad nations need to work together to ensure technological edge.
Just two weeks ago, the leaders of India, US, Australia and Japan met for the first time, as part of the Quad framework.
In the context of the pandemic, our four countries are coordinating, on a unique vaccine initiative, – India would ramp up production of vaccines, and in partnership with other countries, would ensure its distribution, in the Indo-Pacific region, he said.
Sandhu said that in the new post COVID-19 world order, India and the Bay Area, will have a critical role to play.
Opportunities for India-US collaboration, especially for Bay Area companies, are boundless.
“There is a great scope for cross-national collaboration, in the tech-space, that’s witnessing growing integration, across various sectors.
The growing advance of AI, in all walks of our lives, aided by 5G, IOT, big-data analytics, blockchain technology etc.
will bring about a radical transformation, in our social and economic interactions,” he said.