The 7th edition of the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2023 with the theme ‘Global Digital Innovation’ came to an end on October 29, 2023. During the program, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 100 5G use case labs in educational institutions across the country. The IMC 2023 aimed to strengthen India’s position as a developer, manufacturer, and exporter of key cutting-edge technologies.

During his address, PM Modi drew parallels between the impact of these labs and the success of the Atal Tinkering Labs. He lauded the rapid progress of India’s telecom sector, highlighting the BharatNet initiative that has connected approximately 200,000 gram panchayats via broadband. PM Modi touched upon emerging sectors such as artificial intelligence (AI), cyber security, and green tech, emphasising India’s proactive role. He noted the surprising speed at which the country rolled out 5G last year, covering a vast majority of cities and the population. He said that the future is going to be entirely different and it is a matter of happiness that the young generation is leading the tech revolution.

The 100 5G labs initiative is an endeavour to realise the opportunities associated with 5G technology by encouraging the development of 5G applications which cater, both to India’s unique needs as well as the global demands. The unique initiative will foster innovation across various socioeconomic sectors such as education, agriculture, health, power and transportation, and propel the country into the forefront of usage of 5G technology. The initiative is also a pivotal step for building a 6G-ready academic and start-up ecosystem in the country. More importantly, the initiative is a step towards the development of indigenous telecom technology which is critical for national security.

Further, PM Modi drew attention to the important aspect of cybersecurity and the safety of network infrastructure and recalled the discussion on global threats of cybersecurity at the G20 Summit. Noting that self-reliance in the entire manufacturing value chain is extremely important for cyber security, the prime minister underlined that it becomes easier to maintain security when everything in the value chain belongs to the national domain, be it hardware, software or connectivity. He stressed the need to carry out discussions at the IMC about keeping the world’s democratic societies safe.

Highlighting the primacy of technology in the factors that will make a developing nation developed, PM Modi said that in the development of digital technology, India is behind no developed nation. Listing the initiatives to link different sectors with technology, he mentioned platforms such as PM Gatishakti in logistics, National Health Mission in health and Agri Stack in the agriculture sector. He mentioned huge investments in scientific research, quantum mission and national research foundation and promotion of indigenous designs and technology development.

The prime minister lamented the missed opportunities when it came to the adoption of new technologies in the past. He mentioned India’s IT sector where the country showcased its talent in already-developed technologies. He said that this period of the 21st century is the time of India’s thought leadership. He emphasised and urged thought leaders to create new domains which can be followed by others. He gave the example of the unified payments interface (UPI) which is leading the entire world in digital payments system today. He urged the members of the IMC, especially young members, to move forward in this direction. He concluded that today, the transition of moving forward as thought leaders can bring revolutionary changes in the entire sector.