India To Host Area Office And Innovation Centre Of International Telecommunication Union In New Delhi


Union Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw and Secretary-General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Houlin Zhao signed the Host Country Agreement (HCA) for the establishment of an area office and innovation centre of ITU in New Delhi on Thursday (3 March).

International Telecommunication Union is the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs. ITU currently has a membership of 193 countries and over 900 private-sector entities and academic institutions.

The Area Office and Innovation Centre of ITU at New Delhi will serve Southern Asian countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India. The HCA provides the legal and financial framework for the establishment and operations of the Area Office.

The Innovation Centre at Area Office gives impetus to research and development in telecommunication technologies in South Asia. It would provide an opportunity for academics, start-ups, and SMEs to showcase their innovation on a global stage. With the signing of the Host Country Agreement, the Area Office and Innovation Centre is expected to be operational by mid-2022.

The host country agreement was signed in a virtual ceremony during the World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly-20 (WTSA-20) being held in Geneva, Switzerland. WTSA is a four-yearly global conference of ITU dedicated to the standardisation of information and communications technologies (ICTs). India has proposed to host the next WTSA to be held in 2024.

It must be noted that India has been taking concrete steps towards the development of telecom standards. The 5Gi standards developed within India have now been recognised by ITU as one of the three technologies for 5G.