Windhoek [Namibia], June 6
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday called the India-Namibia Centre of Excellence for Information Technology (INCEIT) at Namibia University an outcome of the development cooperation and capacity building partnership between the two countries.
While addressing the inauguration event, Jaishankar said, "This Centre is an outcome of the development cooperation and capacity building partnership between India and Namibia and it is being pursued in line with our shared desire to develop human resources, especially of the youth and give them the right skills in technology domain. It of course reflects the long-standing people to people friendship and linkages which I think you heard the Deputy Prime Minister remind us and today, in fact, when I called on the, His Excellency the President, he himself was witness to events in our past history for which such sentiments have, never have adequate words to describe them."
In his address, he also thanked Namibia's Deputy Prime Minister for offering condolences over the train accident in Odisha.
Jaishankar noted that the courses offered in the centre are vital for Namibia in building a knowledge society. "We're doing an inauguration because in a way, it is an acknowledgement of a great effort that has yielded fruits; that we have today a centre which is very much an inspiration, as Namibia embarks on its own digital journey."
"The courses that the Centre is offering are truly vital for Namibia in building a knowledge society and this has to be done on the foundations of innovation and technology which will emerge from here. Let me illustrate some examples of the importance of such endeavours from my own experience, and very recent experience.
He also spoke about the Cowin application which provided the technological data bone for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in India.
"India's Co-win Application, actually this app provided the technological data backbone for our Covid-19 vaccination programme, and it enabled the delivery of over 2.5 billion doses of vaccination without any confusion. So, when we were struggling through the COVID, one part of the challenge was obviously to produce and distribute vaccines, but the other part of the challenge which is often not spoken about, is really to organize a massive programme, which would allow its injection to be done very smoothly and this happened really because of the effectiveness of the Cowin platform," Jaishankar said.
The EAM also talked about the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) which has revolutionised digital transactions in India.
"Similarly, our home developed Unified Payment Interface (UPI), it has actually revolutionised digital transactions in India, taking inclusion, financial inclusion to new levels, to the extent today that 40 per cent of world's real time digital payments actually take place in India, and we see this revolution, every day in our lives, that whether it is, today, house building programmes, whether its health coverage, whether it is insurance, whether its socio-economic benefits including support for farmers when they are undertaking crop programs for tap water connections, for electricity connections," he added.
He noted that the unique feature of the India-Namibia Centre of Excellence for Information Technology (INCEIT) is that the centre is powered by the PARAM Super Computer. Jaishankar also stated that the Cheetah is the new symbol of the partnership between India and Namibia.
"Now, the unique feature of this Centre is again, other speakers have mentioned it, is that it is powered by the PARAM Super Computer, and I think you have rightly named it ARUB, and I must tell you the Cheetah today is the new symbol of our partnership. And in fact, I have in my delegation a particular senior official who has negotiated this and who's come back here to report to the President that the Cheetahs are doing well, and we looking after all Namibians, including Cheetah, very very well in India. Now, since its deployment, the Supercomputer has seen installation of numerous application softwares to ensure its optimum usage," he said.
Jaishankar said that INCEIT is the latest in the strong ties of India and Africa. He said that India has established vocational training centers, IT centres, Science and Technology parks, Entrepreneurship Development Centres, and Geo-informatics Applications for Rural Development in various regions across Africa.
"I would also like to add that this Centre, is in fact, the latest in our strong partnership with Africa which particularly targets the Gen Next in Africa and India, in fact has established in several locations, across the continent, vocational training centers, IT centres, Science and Technology parks, Entrepreneurship Development Centres, and Geo-informatics Applications for Rural Development," Jaishankar said.
"And I mention this because today in our discussion in the Joint Commission which I had the honour to chair along with the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister, we are looking to see how can we take our partnership forward, particularly in these knowledge-driven domains and I certainly hope that we will have many more inaugurations in the times to come," he added.
Jaishankar said that India has been at the forefront to provide capacity building and training to Namibian nationals under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme and vocational training centres, IT centres, Science and Technology parks, Entrepreneurship Development Centres, and Geo-informatics Applications for Rural Development under the ICCR Scholarship Schemes. He noted that about 1,500 Namibian nationals have so far received training under various programmes.
"While, I have described a lot of these developments and cooperation, largely in a bilateral framework, I would also like you to understand that this is really a reflection of a larger approach towards our relationship with Africa that has particularly deepened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014," he said.
EAM Jaishankar recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Africa in 2018.
"We have seen since then intensified connects. We have seen more exchanges. We have seen projects, such as these and I can see that they have made a real difference. When Prime Minister Modi was visiting Africa in 2018 in one of the parliaments of this continent, he had actually declared that the priority of our partners is our priority," he said.
Jaishankar stressed that the centre could act as a bridge between academia and industry. He said that he is confident that the Centre will contribute to Namibia positioning itself as an ICT powerhouse in Africa and beyond.
In a tweet, Jaishankar stated, "Delighted to participate in inauguration of India-Namibia Centre of Excellence in Information Technology (INCEIT) in Windhoek. Thank DPM and FM Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Minister of Higher Education Itah Kandjii-Murangi for joining. This Centre is a notable contribution to our partnering with Digital Africa. It is in line with Namibian priorities and will contribute to research, innovation cyber security and good governance. Confident that Namibia's youth will also use it as a platform to demonstrate their talent and creativity The PARAM Super Computer installed here, aptly named ARUB (Cheetah), is an affirmation of the time-tested India-Namibia partnership."
On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the roadmap of the growing partnership between both nations covers the domains of energy, infrastructure, food security, digital, defence and arts as he concluded the first India-Namibia Joint Commission of Cooperation.