Your Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Omar Al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service,
Esteemed dignitaries from Government of Oman,
Distinguished ITEC Alumni,
Ladies & Gentlemen,
I extend a very warm welcome to all of you at the Indian Embassy for the celebration of ITEC Day, 2019
Let me first express our sincere gratitude to H.E. Sheikh Khalid Al Marhoon for accepting our invitation to be the Chief Guest for this function. Excellency, we deeply appreciate and value your personal interest and support in the successful implementation of ITEC Programme between India and Oman.
We are equally thankful to officials of Ministries of Civil Service and Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman for their efforts in encouraging officials from all relevant departments of the Government of Oman to participate in this programme.
I also thank the ITEC alumni for joining us today in large numbers. I am sure that the training courses you attended in India have been useful in your profession and during your stay in India you had a chance to know India a little better. I encourage you to share your experiences with us so that we can work towards improvements wherever required.
I also encourage you to continue to engage with India; the doors of Indian Embassy in Muscat are always open for you. Today’s function is your own function so feel free to interact with us as well as among each other and revive your memories and experiences of your stay in India.
Friends, as you know, India and Oman have always enjoyed close and friendly relations spanning over thousands of years. These strong bilateral relations have become exceptionally close under the wise leadership of HM Sultan Qaboos and evolved into a strategic partnership. I take this opportunity to wish His Majesty, on behalf of all of us, a long life and good health.
Friends, the ITEC program is rooted in the Indian philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which means that the whole world is one family. Under this programme, India shares its knowledge and know-how for capacity building of other developing countries.
Overall under ITEC Programme, as you just heard, India provides around 14,000 scholarships to 160 partner countries for over 300 short, medium and long-duration courses in 100 state-of-art centers of learning & excellence in India.
Last year, we had offered 125 slots to Oman and the utilization was close to 100%. This year too, we have offered 125 slots for Oman and the numbers can be further increased depending on the pace of utilization.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the Programme and to commemorate it, Government of India has taken two new initiatives. The first one is e-ITEC which is live online training; and the second is ITEC-on-site which involves ITEC resource persons to visit the partner country to deliver tailor-made courses for them. I am sure these new models will also be explored and utilized by Government of Oman in the coming years.
Let me also underline what was conveyed in the film. This year the programme has been revamped with new partner institutions and programmes. We have added special courses like artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, petroleum and forensic science which will be offered by top-notch institutions including IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad among others.
As you are aware, ITEC also offers country-specific courses which are more demand driven. For this, we need a group size of 20-25 persons. Last year, we organized such a programme for a group of officials from Majlis Al Shura. We look forward to organizing similar programmes this year for other institutions and departments. I encourage you to convey your areas of interest at an early date.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we are well aware of Oman’s efforts towards economic diversification and its vision to become a knowledge economy. I take this opportunity to reiterate India’s commitment to strengthen and expand its strategic partnership with Oman, including in the field of training and skill development.
Before concluding, I once again thank all of you for taking time to attend this function and wish you all the best.