The MoU was officially signed by Hon. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology of India and Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure at the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure (MTDI).
MTDI and its Indian counterpart – Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) have jointly identified several areas for future collaboration facilitated by respective governments. e-Governance, m-Governance with special focus on rural areas, cooperation in the area of cybersecurity; Explore B2B partnerships and collaboration between Industry associations; developing digital talents and enhance digital/ICT literacy; cooperation in R&D and Innovation in ICT sector between private and public institutions are some of them.
Initial discussions between India and Sri Lanka at officials' level for such collaboration suggested that both countries would be at high advantage if the potentials in the field of IT&E can be recognized diplomatically and the contents of MoU were mutually agreed upon. Both governments also entered into two practical partnerships by introducing a model e-office application for the Government of Sri Lanka and the connectivity for academic and research institutes under the National Knowledge Network (NKN) of India. The Lanka Education & Research Network (LEARN) is the counterpart of this partnership. At today's launch 16 Sri Lankan academic institutions of LEARN participated, and 6 out of over 1,600 Indian institutes of NKN were engaged in live video conference during the ceremony in Colombo.
The visiting Indian Minister Hon. Ravi Sankar Prasad assured his country's fullest co-operation towards making Sri Lanka a digitally inclusive nation. He recalled India's digital and mobile transformation as well as success of Digital Identity and Aadhar Card that enabled Government of India's service delivery efficient and cost-effective.
Addressing the ceremony, Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, stated that the MoU signed today covers several specific areas of co-operation, and have many options to expand it further. It will further strengthen Sri Lanka's ongoing efforts in accelerating IT&E related governance and public service delivery for its strategic approach towards a digital economy, taking into consideration India's success stories in introducing and adopting them at central and state level. He invited the private entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka to be active in the implementation mechanism as several Sri Lanka IT firms have excelled in developing solutions for Indian Government. He thanked the Government of India and the visiting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for extending the support of technical teams to launch two key initiatives in a very short time.
Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Secretary, MTDI, Mr. Prasad Kariyawasam, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India in Colombo, Mrs. Neeta Verma, Director General, NIC, India, Mr. P.G. Kumarasinghe, Chairman, Sri Lanka Telecom and Mrs. Chitranganie Mubarak, Chairperson, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, Representatives of government institutions of India and Sri Lanka, ICT Industry associations, NKN and LEARN were present at today's event.