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Indian envoy calls for S. Korea collaboration on startup ecosystemBy Sanjay Kumar
Published : April 16, 2023 - 18:25
Indian Ambassador to South Korea Amit Kumar said Wednesday that collaboration with Korea on India's digital transformation would create synergy, highlighting his country's emergence as the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world.
India has gone through a vast digital transformation in banking, health, finance and governance, along with the rise of startups in the country. India has more than 100 unicorns valued at $332 billion, and is ranked third globally in the number of unicorns, he said at the Global Business Forum hosted by the Korea Herald.
"Today, there are approximately 90,000 startups in India," said Kumar, asking Korean companies to work with Indian startups to advance competitiveness and innovation.
He cited a space technology startup called Agnikul that successfully test-fired the world’s first single-piece 3-D printed rocket engine, fully designed and manufactured in India.
"Another startup developed a smartphone-based application to scan the retina for detecting cataracts," he said, adding that the motivation behind developing the app was to overcome the shortage of eye doctors in rural India.
He introduced India's achievement in digital public goods based on open source and open APIs, as well as open standards bringing scale, speed and improved transparency to governance.
API is an application programming interface made publicly available to software developers. Open APIs are published on the internet and shared freely, allowing the owner of a network-accessible service to give universal access to consumers.
He shared India's experience of developing a cloud-based system to facilitate registration for appointments and vaccinations as real-time online dashboards called CoWIN.
CoWIN refers to the Indian government's web portal for COVID-19 vaccination registration, owned and operated by India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
"India has offered the CoWIN platform as a digital public good to other developing countries," said Kumar.
The Indian Embassy is looking to further strengthen the startup ecosystem of India and Korea, said Kumar, referring to the India-Korea SME and startup center in Gurugram, Haryana, supported by the Korean and Indian governments.
According to Kumar, Indian startups are making significant progress in diagnostic, biosimilars and cancer detection through novel blood tests.
He said the launch of the unified payments interface, or UPI, in 2016 was a watershed moment for the Indian financial system, which started with $120 million.
UPI registered approximately 70 billion transactions worth over $1.5 trillion in fiscal years 2022–23, according to Kumar.
According to Kumar, partnering with Korea’s advanced manufacturing and technological innovation is mutually beneficial for both countries.
Kumar also referred to Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin’s two-day trip to India and his meeting with Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties.
Park was the first Korean foreign minister to visit India in five years.
South Korea and India established diplomatic relations in 1973. India agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to a "Special Strategic Partnership" during former President Park Geun-hye's state visit to India in 2014.
The agreement was signed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Korea in 2015.
Meanwhile, the ambassador also described India’s historical relations with Korea -- forged through Buddhism in the fourth century – along with the contributions of the Indian medical contingent during the Korean War and the custodial forces of India within the framework of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission.
The NNRC was created in 1953 to repatriate thousands of prisoners of war.
"(The year) 2023 is a special year as India and Korea are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations," said Kumar, emphasizing India's commitment to strengthening the existing special strategic partnership.
"India-Korea relations have infinite potential.”
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