New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas came to India earlier this week, the three MoUs inked between the two countries went by largely unnoticed. But the agreements, especially one on cooperation in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), is where India scores high – and is sought after by many countries.
The Memorandums of Understandings, inked on Sep 11, were for setting up an India-Palestine Centre of Excellence in ICT, for providing vocational training and for construction of two schools in Palestine.
The ICT centre in Palestine is to be set up at the Al Quds University in East Jerusalem, with India providing the funds, an official told IANS.
“The finer details are to be worked out,” the official said, not wishing to be identified.
Indian experts in information technology would go to Palestine for setting up the centre and for training the people there. “It will take about six months time to set it up… the paper work process has to begin now,” the official added.
The three MoUs are part of the government’s flagship Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme, launched on Sep 15, 1964, as a bilateral programme of assistance.
During the visit of Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon on Sep 3, India offered to undertake development projects in Tajikistan on similar lines -for setting up an IT Centre of Excellence and an e-network for tele-education and tele-medicine – besides other things.
India has ICT collaboration with over 50 countries, including around 8 in Latin America, the official said, adding “even countries that are not so friendly seek out India’s collaboration in this field”.
The ITEC programme is the brainchild of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was also the country’s foreign minister throughout his 17-year tenure. The ITEC programme is “an earnest attempt by India to share the fruits of its socio-economic development and technological achievement with other developing countries”. It is a programme fully funded by the Indian government, says the website.
Under the MoU with Palestine for vocational training, India is to provide vocational training in six fields, including printing and textiles, the official told IANS. Indian experts would provide vocational training to Palestinians as well as provide the training equipment. “It will act as a launch pad, to take the training forward,” he added.
India is also to construct and equip two schools in Palestine – one for boys in Abu Dees and for girls in Asera Al Shamalyeh. The estimated cost of the project is US$ 1.8 million.
The construction of the schools would be through a “bidding and tender” process, he informed.
In January this year, the Trinidad and Tobago government expressed optimism that the ITEC programme would help the Caribbean archipelago state become the ICT hub of the Caribbean and Latin America.
The T &T Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communications Surujrattan Rambachan, addressing a function to mark India’s Republic Day in Port-of -Spain, said that ICT collaboration with India is important to Trinidad and Tobago “as it can only benefit from India’s remarkable technological advancements in this area”.
(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)