India, Britain to jointly hone skills of IT workforce

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London, April 18 (IANS) India and Britain on Wednesday formed an India-UK Tech Alliance and signed an agreement to jointly hone skills of IT workforce and promote innovation in both the countries.

“The agreement between Indian IT industry apex body Nasscom and British trade body TechUK will increase collaboration on skills and new technologies, assisting policy development and encouraging innovation,” said a statement after the agreement was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi is on a three-day official visit to Britain for bilateral talks with his counterpart Theresa May and to attend the biannual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meting (CHOGM) on April 19-20.

“The partnership between the trade bodies would support the IT sectors in both the countries by developing links, networks and joint platforms,” said the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) in the statement.

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The new partnership will also promote the growth of skills needed for artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics and cybersecurity.

“The partnership will include a UK-India Tech Hub, which will identify and pair businesses, venture capital, universities and others to access routes to markets for British and Indian tech companies,” it said.

British Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion Baroness Fairhead, who was present on the occasion, said technology was at the heart of the new relationship between the two countries.

“We welcome TechUK and Nasscom’s commitment to working together to strengthen skills in both countries that will be key to driving economic growth, development and prosperity,” she said.

TechUK Chief Executive Julian David said the Alliance would be a key partner for the government to provide a sounding board and expert advice for policy development to ensure that the growth is nurtured in the sector and beyond.

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“This is an important milestone for both the British and Indian tech sectors. We collaborate better to provide people with the skills and tools they need to flourish in the new world of work,” he said.

According to Nasscom’s new President Debjani Ghosh, the agreement will equip the IT workforce with skills in emerging technology fields such as AI and robotics.

“Our FutureSkills initiative will be the basis for collaboration between our IT industries. It is imperative to train the workforce for future jobs and remain relevant in the new global economy,” she added.

IT spending in India is set to jump on opportunities that have been unveiled by the government in 2015-16.

India is forecast to become the second largest market for IT by 2018. The highest spending will be in the telecommunications Services (37.3 per cent), followed by devices (33.7 per cent per cent), IT services (19.2 per cent, software (6.7 per cent) and 3.1 Data Centre Systems per person.

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