Home / Politics / Policy /  Use technology as a means to development, not destruction: Narendra Modi at Dubai Summit

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday described technology as a key instrument of global change but issued a warning against the use of cyberspace for radicalization and making huge investments in creating more efficient weapons systems.

Speaking at the sixth World Government Summit in Dubai on the last day of his two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Modi underlined the need to use technology to ensure inclusive growth and development.

In his speech that was heard by key representatives of Gulf Arab states among the audience, Modi noted that the world was yet to eradicate poverty and malnutrition. “But we see large amounts of money, time and resources being spent on the development of missiles and bombs. We must use technology as a means to development, not destruction," he told the gathering that included Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and Prime Minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai.

“We also see the use of cyberspace for radicalization, which is an example of misuse of technology," he said. India and the UAE share common views on this subject with the two countries having issued a strong joint statement against terrorism and radicalization during Modi’s first visit to the emirate in August 2015.

India has been accorded “Guest Country" status at this year’s World Government Summit that is being attended by more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries.

Hailing the use of technology by the Dubai government, Modi described as a “miracle" the transformation of the Emirate into a modern high-tech society, adding that Dubai was an example for the world.

Outlining India’s use of technology, Modi said his government was using technology-enabled Aadhaar unique identity numbers to ensure that government benefits reach the needy directly. This use of technology has saved the government $8 billion a year, he said.

Technology had also helped India introduce the goods and services tax which had united India into a single market, he said. It was also helping Indian farmers sell their produce directly to the government through e-markets, the prime minister added.

In the international arena, India was using technology to collaborate with African nations in telemedicine and tele-education through the pan-Africa E-network, Modi said. Last year, India had launched a satellite that would help South Asian countries harness technology for the welfare of the people, he added.

Having missed the bus on the Industrial Revolution, India was making efforts to ensure it did not miss the technology revolution, Modi said, adding that Asia’s third largest economy was looking at big data analytics, next generation genomics and advanced energy storage systems to make itself a technology power.

Earlier in the day, Modi held talks with the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The two sides also signed five agreements including a pact awarding a consortium of Indian oil companies a 10% stake in an offshore oilfield. The other agreements were in the areas of railways, manpower and financial services, a PTI report said. The government of Jammu and Kashmir also signed a pact with DP World to establish a multi-modal logistics park and hub in Jammu comprising warehouses and specialized storage solutions, the report added.

Modi, who arrived in Abu Dhabi from Jordan on the second leg of his three-nation tour, was received by Sheikh Zayed at the airport.

Modi, who left New Delhi on Friday arrived in Amman and visited the Palestinian territories on Saturday. Modi will also visit the Gulf nation of Oman before returning home on Monday.

According to a joint statement released just before Modi left the UAE for Muscat, the two leaders “noted the robust and forward-looking bilateral engagement in the past two years across a whole range of spheres, including political, economic, trade and investment, energy, education, culture, defence and security."

“Both sides underlined that as diverse societies, India and UAE exemplify as credible models against the tendencies of extremism and radicalism...both sides resolved to deepen cooperation on combating extremism and further strengthen their efforts in countering terrorism," it said.

“The two leaders expressed strong condemnation of extremism and terrorism in all forms and manifestations, irrespective of who the perpetrators are and of their motivations. They reiterated their condemnation for efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries, or to use terrorism as instrument of state policy," the statement said.

“They further deplored efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and pointed out the responsibility of all states to control the activities of the so-called ‘non-state actors’, and to cut all support to terrorists operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states. The two leaders agreed that resolute and credible steps must be taken to eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries that provide shelter to terrorists and their activities," it said.

The two leaders also welcomed the first ever bilateral naval exercises between the two countries to be held later this year, the statement said.

“The two sides renewed their commitment to work closely to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of both countries," it added.

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