India, Korea agree to ICT dialogue

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India, Korea agree to ICT dialogue

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President Park Geun-hye talks with officials of the National Association of Software and Services Companies, a trade association in India’s IT industry, during an ICT expo yesterday in New Delhi. [NEWSIS]

Korea and India yesterday signed an agreement to initiate a ministerial policy consultative meeting on information and communications technology, a move Korea hopes will be a leap forward to synergize the countries’ strengths in hardware and software sectors.

Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning Choi Mun-kee, who accompanied President Park Geun-hye on her state visit to India, and Kapil Sibal, India’s telecommunications minister, were the signatories.

Meetings will be held annually starting this year and will alternate between the two countries, the ministry said. Consultations will cover the development of next-generation ICT services, sharing research and development, human resources exchanges and other areas of potential cooperation.

“We expect it to provide momentum in creating a synergy between our ICT technologies and India’s software sector,” the ministry said.

Park sees ICT as a key element of her creative economy initiative, which seeks to steer Korea toward an economy fueled by value-added products and services, and she sees India as an effective partner. Park visited an ICT expo in New Delhi yesterday.

Korea, which has the world’s leading manufacturers of smartphones, TVs and other high-tech hardware, has been lacking in software development. There has been a shortage of software developers, especially at small and midsize enterprises.

There are about 3 million people working in the software industry in India, and 30 percent to 40 percent of developers in Silicon Valley, and 30 percent of software employees at Samsung Electronics are Indians, the ministry said.

“Korea can make use of qualitative Indian talent to increase its competitiveness, while India can create jobs and share Korea’s experiences,” said Choi.

The two countries have bolstered economic cooperation since signing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement, a free-trade pact, in 2009, with bilateral trade rising from $12.1 billion in 2009 to $18.8 billion in 2012. But they have achieved little progress in regard to cooperation in the ICT sector.

Only a handful of Korean ICT companies - Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, LG CNS, SK Hynix and LS Cable and System - operate in India. More than 900 multinational companies run research and development centers in India.

India’s software industry produces about 60 percent of the profits generated from the country’s ICT sector and is estimated to have reached $108 billion, up 7.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies. India’s ICT industry accounts for 10 percent of the global software market, the association said.

Last year, India exported $75.8 billion in software, 34 times more than Korea.

“Both countries are being noticed for their leadership in ICT, but mutual cooperation in the area has been insignificant,” said an official at the ministry.

Government officials and experts from both countries also held a Software Round Table and discussed how Korean firms can expand their investment in the software industry in India and potential areas of cooperation.

The two countries also signed an MOU on cybersecurity and information protection. Meanwhile, Park participated in a Korea-India economic cooperation forum in New Delhi and stressed the importance of bilateral economic cooperation, including on the creative economy, according to the Blue House.

Indian Vice Commerce Minister Saurabh Chandra said during the forum that India can help Korea realize its creative economy goal with its prowess in science and technology.


BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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