A panel discussion during the technology conference.
A panel discussion during the technology conference.
India eyes ‘win-win partnership’ with Kuwait in IT sector: Envoy
KCCI keen on boosting bilateral ties l CITRA official underlines ‘cloud first policy’

By Sajeev K Peter

KUWAIT: India is looking for a win-win partnership with Kuwait in the information technology sector, Indian Ambassador Dr Adarsh Swaika said on Monday. Delivering his opening remarks at the ‘India-Kuwait Information Technology Conference’, he said: “Through its ‘Vision 2035’ economic diversification plan and the new Government Plan 2040, Kuwait is keen to modernize and digitalize its economy and become a smart commercial hub in the region.”

The presence of a large number of government and private sector entities at the conference, including CAIT, CITRA, KNET, Public Authority for Industry, KPC, etc speaks of the importance Kuwait attaches to its digital transformation objectives, he said. “The leadership of both India and Kuwait has also identified this area of cooperation as one of mutual interest. This is, therefore, a sector where we can consult, cooperate and collaborate for win-win partnerships,” he pointed out.

‘India-Kuwait Information Technology Conference’, a collaborative event, was organized by the Indian Embassy in association with the Indian Business and Professional Council, Kuwait and the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), India with the support of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

“Information technology is a sector in which India and Indian companies are widely known globally and rightfully take pride in. It is in this context that the embassy thought of organizing this event to bring together stakeholders from both countries face to face to explore greater collaborations between them,” Swaika said.

Giving a snapshot of the exponential growth in India’s IT sector, he said: “Revenue of India’s technology industry is estimated to be $245 billion in financial year 2023, with IT exports estimated at $194 billion and expected to grow at 9.4 percent. It contributed to 53 percent in India’s service exports in FY 2023.”

India is the third largest and the fastest growing hub for technology startups. With 23 new unicorns, India became the 2nd highest country in terms of number of unicorns added in 2022. Indian industry is consistently strengthening its digital capabilities by adopting deep technologies and focusing on deploying emerging technology solutions such as AI, cybersecurity and IoT, he mentioned.

Bilateral trade

Addressing the conference, Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Board Member Wafa Al-Qatami said India is one of the major trading partners of Kuwait, ranking as the top fourth exporter in 2021, with the value of commercial exchange amounting to $2.362 billion in 2021. “We aspire to advance these relations further and exert more efforts to raise the bilateral trade volumes and reinforce the joint economic ties between Kuwait and India,” she stated. She said KCCI is keen on extending all possible cooperation towards achieving the economic goals of Kuwait and India.

“Kuwait’s business sector follows with admiration the great progress that India has achieved in its ICT sector, value of which is estimated at $245 billion,” she said, emphasizing the significance of the sector. “Companies operating in banking, finance, insurance, telecommunication and many other sectors are keen to be aligned with advanced technologies in order to offer proper digital services. Therefore, in this conference, we are looking forward to learning more about India’s IT and the software industry. We hope to see more bilateral partnerships between Kuwaiti and Indian companies,” Qatami added.

Cloud first

“Although Kuwait has a very strong segment in food chain industry, probably one of the best in the region, we don’t find a strong entrepreneur segment in the ICT market here,” said Mohammad Altura, Chief, Market Regulation and Competition, at the Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority of Kuwait (CITRA).

Presenting his views on digital transformation during a panel discussion, Altura said: “We find that we are missing a lot of resources in Kuwait, especially the new trends such as AI, big data management, IoT, blockchain, etc. We must have an ecosystem for entrepreneurs and small businesses.” Definitely with the help of India’s ICT sector, we can develop the ecosystem in Kuwait and further build our economic relations, he said, adding that the country can build a bridge that could harmonize the entrepreneurial system in the ICT sector.

Talking about Kuwait’s digital transformation strategy, Altura said: “As a regulator, we have to make sure that we facilitate easy regulation in order to encourage the government sector and the country on a national scale to go to the cloud. We have to come up with the ‘cloud-first policy’ so that we push people to go to the cloud.”

Making people’s life easier is the first pillar in the journey of digital transformation, particularly in the fields of education and healthcare, he said. The second pillar, he said, is to develop the economy by introducing simplified customs procedure, smart solutions and cloud automation. The third pillar of digital transformation, according to Altura, is to support innovation. “Now with the cloud, we can create a virtual environment for innovators to come up with new ideas and apps to make people’s lives easier and develop the economy,” he pointed out.

Earlier, IBPC Chairman Gurvinder Lamba gave an overview of the conference’s objectives. Around 20 prominent ITES sector companies from India arrived in Kuwait to attend the conference, which witnessed lively interactions through panel discussions, presentations and videos. A B2B session was also held in which Kuwaiti companies got an opportunity for a one-on-one session with the visiting Indian delegates.

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