New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) A 40-member Saudi Arabian youth team that is in India to promote interactions in the field of science and technology and to gain a firsthand account of the progress made by Indian institutions and universities, called on Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot here Thursday.
"We are inspired to meet such a dynamic and young leader from India. He understands the importance of engaging youth in a country's development," said Albara Alohali, a member of the delegation.
On a 10-day visit to India since March 22, the delegation arrived in the national capital late Wednesday after a tour of technology hubs in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
"IT is one area where we have been doing tremendously well. It is great to see the keen interest the youth population is showing in innovation and IT industry," Pilot said during the 40-minute interaction.
"More than the (India-Saudi Arabia) political or economic relationship between the two countries, it is the ties between people that will strengthen the relationship," Pilot said.
During the interaction, the delegation members voiced their opinions and asked questions on issues such as youth involvement, elections, IT, innovation and corruption.
The Saudi Youth Forum delegation, comprising both men and women, is led by the country's Deputy Minister for Economic and Cultural Affairs Yousef Terad Al Saadon and includes students, mediapersons and youth from different walks of life.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a 'population bonus' with a young generation of 3.4 million, accounting for over 20 percent of the its population, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The delegation showed interest in the Indian government's National Optical Fibre Network for providing broadband connectivity to panchayats and offering governance, banking and health services online.
The delegation's visit to Narayan Hrudalaya telemedicine project in Bangalore has been the most engaging so far, a member said.
"E-health in Bangalore was very strong. It is a lesson we would like to take back home," a member of the delegation told IANS.
The e-health or telemedicine project uses telecommunications to deliver affordable healthcare to patients in distant parts of the country. The hospital also shares medical expertise and information with Malaysia, Mauritius, and several sub-Saharan nations through IT.
The delegation also visited the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bangalore and Dr Reddy's laboratories, among others, in Hyderabad.
In the national capital, the delegation will visit the Indian Institute of Technology, the Nasscom office and places of cultural interest.
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