Sri Lanka looking to adopt India’s digital model

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has expressed admiration for India’s digital achievements, citing it as a model worth emulating. Speaking at a conference on Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) in Colombo, President Wickremesinghe emphasised the need for collaboration with India, highlighting the potential to save years in development by adopting India’s digital strategies.

“In implementing it, we needed help, and the best place we could get was India. I spoke with PM Modi when I was in India last year, and as part of our integration, we said, we would like to go with India, you have done so much,” stated President Wickremesinghe, underlining the significance of seeking guidance from India’s experience.

Acknowledging India’s historical contribution, he added, “Another reason I took India, is it is the country that discovered zero. Where would the world be had India not discovered zero.” Wickremesinghe expressed his intention to mirror India’s digital advancements, tailored to suit Sri Lanka’s needs. “Let us piggyback your experience. It will save us a few years, maybe 4-5 years in development,” he affirmed.

President Wickremesinghe outlined his vision for Sri Lanka’s digital future, emphasising the importance of digital public infrastructure. “We want to go ahead, I want to implement, I hope we have the support. We have to make the change, we have to join the 21st century. Just as India has done, we have to go ahead and do the same,” he declared.

Highlighting specific initiatives, Wickremesinghe mentioned the introduction of Artificial Intelligence in schools and the establishment of an institutional framework for a digital economy. He also expressed gratitude for India’s assistance in the opening of an IIT branch in Sri Lanka, which will be the third foreign campus of IIT after Tanzania and the UAE.

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Santosh Jha, underscored the collaborative efforts between the two nations in advancing digital infrastructure.

He referenced to India’s support to the Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity Project (SL-UDI), akin to India’s Aadhaar, as a symbol of this partnership. “Both leaders agreed to leverage India’s DPI in accordance with Sri Lanka’s requirements and priorities, towards efficient delivery of citizen-centric services,” explained Jha.

Jha further emphasised India’s commitment to supporting Sri Lanka’s digital transformation, noting the inclusion of DPI in bilateral joint statements and vision documents. The conference was organised by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Technology.

Source: WION

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