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‘We dream of digitising our most remote villages and landing on moon’: Jaishankar

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New York, Sep 24: India today envisions itself as a developed country by 2047, the 100th year of its independence, and dreams of digitising its most remote villages and landing on the moon, perhaps even digitising it, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.

Speaking at a special 'India@75’ Showcasing India-UN Partnership in Action’ event here, he said India’s development rests on an expansive digital public infrastructure designed to promote that "no one is left behind”.

‘We dream of digitising our most remote villages and landing on moon’: Jaishankar

“In the 18th century, India accounted for about a quarter of the global GDP. By the middle of 20th, colonialism ensured that we were one of the poorest nations of the world. That was our state when we became a founding member of the United Nations,” Jaishankar said.

The event was organised by the Government of India and United Nations to highlight India's partnership with the UN, its South-South Cooperation, its development journey and achievements in the 75th year of its independence. It was held on the margins of the high-level UN General Assembly session and attended by dignitaries from the UN including President of the 77th session of UN General Assembly Csaba Korosi, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.

Jaishankar said in the 75th year of its independence, India stands “before you, proudly, as the fifth biggest economy of the world and is still rising as the strongest, most enthusiastic and definitely the most argumentative democracy.” In recent days, digital technology has successfully advanced its food-safety net to 800 million Indians, more than USD 300 billion of benefits have been distributed digitally, and 400 million people get food regularly.

“We have administered over 2 billion vaccinations and the secret of that is indeed Digital,” he said. “India today envisions itself as a developed country by 2047, 100 years of our independence. We dream of digitising our most remote villages and landing on the moon, perhaps even digitizing it,” he said. Jaishankar said India’s foundational belief is that its own development is inseparable from that of the rest of the world.

“Without doubt, our progress and growth have also benefitted from our interface with the United Nations and its agencies. The conflict in Ukraine has aggravated food and energy inflation to make it one of the biggest challenges of our times.

“India has responded by supplying food grains, including as grant assistance in recent years to Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Yemen and several countries in Africa. It is important that we hear from those who have joined us today on the criticality of food security,” he said.

Describing the COVID-19 pandemic as an unprecedented global crisis, he said when needed, India responded first with vaccines for its friends in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and its own neighbourhood.

He noted that the India UN Development Partnership Fund is particularly symbolic of New Delhi’s relationship with the global organisation, because it is the first-ever single country South-South initiative at the UN. It currently extends to 66 development projects in 51 countries. “Our multifaceted partnership with the UN is significantly reflected in the area of peacekeeping. We have contributed over the years more than a quarter million personnel to this effort, more than any other country,” he said.

Jaishankar reiterated that India stands committed, and ready to strengthen its partnerships with the UN to ensure a brighter future for the planet. Several ambassadors and UN agencies head also addressed the event and highlighted their partnerships with India across a host of areas, including development, women empowerment, energy and climate.

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