India aims to make this decade a tech decade — “Techade,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday during his visit to the National Science Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia.
Shortly after Modi’s arrival in Washington on the second leg of his maiden state visit to the US, he visited the US federal agency that supports science and engineering.
Accompanied by US First Lady Jill Biden, PM Modi met students from both India and the US who are learning skills to succeed in industries vital to the economies of the two countries.
Addressing the students, PM said India is working on multiple projects with US National Science Foundation. Modi said that his government’s goal is to make this decade a tech decade, what he described as a “Techade.”
“We have established around 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs in schools wherein children are being provided with all kinds of facilities for various types of innovations. To encourage young entrepreneurs, we have started ‘Start Up India’ mission. Our goal is to make this decade a tech decade – Techade,” he said.
“I am very happy that I got to meet these young and creative people right after visiting Washinton DC. With NSF, India is working on a lot of projects. I want to thank First Lady Jill Biden to plan and organise this event. Your life and your achievements are an inspiration for future generations. Education, skill and innovation are important for a bright future,” he added.
In his address, PM Modi even brought up the New Education Policy and integrated education and skilling taking place in India. “Under Skill India, we have skilled over 15 billion people in the field of artificial intelligence, blockchain, drone and others,” he added.
Jill Biden said that she knows that education is close to PM Modi’s heart. “If we want our economies to be strong, we have to invest in young people,” she added.
Modi arrived at the Joint Base Andrews in Washington, DC where he was given a guard of honour amid incessant rains.
In the Washington leg of the visit, Prime Minister will hold bilateral talks with President Joe Biden and address a joint session of the US Congress.
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Modi arrived here from New York where he led a historic event at the UN Headquarters earlier in the day to commemorate the 9th International Day of Yoga, attended by UN officials, diplomats and prominent personalities.
The prime minister, who is visiting the US at the invitation of President Biden, will join them for the state banquet along with a number of dignitaries on Thursday.
Indian diaspora members braved the rain to welcome Modi at Freedom Plaza in Washington. Some of the community members staged cultural programmes including ‘Garba’ and other folk dances outside the hotel in Washington DC where Modi will stay.
In his departure statement, Modi said his discussions with President Biden and other senior US leaders will provide an opportunity to consolidate bilateral cooperation as well as in plurilateral forums such as G20, Quad and IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity).
Noting that the US Congress has always provided strong bi-partisan support to India-US ties, Modi said that during his visit, he will address a joint session of the US Congress at the invitation of the Congressional leadership.
The US is India’s largest trade partner in goods and services, and the two countries collaborate closely in the fields of science and technology, education, health, defence and security, the prime minister said.
The initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies has added new dimensions and widened collaboration in defence industrial cooperation, space, telecom, quantum, artificial intelligence and biotech sectors, he added.
(With inputs from Sanjay Jha)