September 30 (The Hindu) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called for collaborative efforts among the “best brains in Asian countries to offer innovative solutions” to global warming and climate change.
Pointing out that “technology unites people, even across countries and across continents,” Mr. Modi, who handed over prizes to winners of the Singapore-India Hackathon 2019 at the IIT- Madras Research Park here, responded favourably to the suggestion of Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Education Minister, that the contest be extended to students of universities belonging to member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“Let me take this opportunity to propose a similar hackathon involving those Asian countries that may be interested in participating, with support from NTU [Nanyang Technological University, Singapore], government of Singapore and [the] government of India,” the Prime Minister told a gathering of students and young researchers, adding that it was he who had floated the idea behind the current hackathon event during his visit to Singapore in May-June 2018.
Giving two reasons why India was for innovation and incubation, he said it was to have “easy solutions” for the country’s problems and “solutions” for the rest of the world. “ Indian Solutions for Global Application – this is our goal and our commitment,” Mr. Modi observed.
Referring to the change in the composition of participating teams in this year’s event, which now had an equal number of representatives from India and Singapore, instead of the earlier format of having teams that comprised exclusively nationals of the respective countries, Mr. Modi said “we have moved from competition to collaboration. This is the strength that we need, to bear jointly, on the challenges that both our countries face.”
The Prime Minister pointed out that Indian school students, even at the level of sixth grade, were being given exposure to concepts such as artificial intelligence and blockchain.
Describing Singapore-India ties as a “multifaceted relationship,” Mr. Kung said 8,000 Indian companies were having their base in his country, which remained India’s top foreign investment destination. He expressed the hope that the two country’s payment systems would get linked to each other shortly. Explaining how his country was helping the formation of skill training centres in Assam, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, he wanted students of vocational courses also to be included in the hackathon.
On the forthcoming India-China summit to be held in Mamallapuram, the Singaporean Minister recounted the historical ties between the two countries even during the Pallava era and said how they got extended up to the southeast Asian countries.
Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education, said the 2019 hackathon covered three broad areas – health, education and affordable and clean energy.