New Delhi: The first-ever India-Asean hackathon was held from 1st to 4th February and saw the participation of 330 students and 110 mentors from 10 ASEAN countries and India. Coming together online as 55 teams, they came up with innovative solutions to 11 problems as part of the hackathon which was announced by PM Modi at the 16th ASEAN India summit in Bangkok in November of 2019. The hackathon was organized jointly by the Ministry of external affairs and India’s education ministry.
The themes of the hackathon were ‘Blue Economy’ and ‘Education’, which was lauded by EAM Dr S Jaishankar. He said, “Weaving together of two priority areas of cooperation into problem statements provides added relevance to this Hackathon. India has identified cooperation in the maritime domain as a priority under the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership.”
On Education, Jaishankar said, it is “a central element of our Strategic Partnership with ASEAN recognizing the role it plays in effectively and constructively channelizing the energy of our youth.”
The hackathon is key to the larger ASEAN-India strategic partnership and forms part of other youth-centric initiatives like Special Courses for Young ASEAN Diplomats, Exchange Programmes for Young Farmers’, Media Exchange Programmes, Programmes for Young Parliamentarians.
In fact, India’s education minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said that the “Hackathon is well aligned with the vision of ASEAN – plan of action on science, technology and innovation (APASTI) 2016-2025”.
Senior Ministers from Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam were present in the concluding ceremony of the event. There are other India-ASEAN programmes to increase the people-to-people engagement, which includes New Delhi providing 1000 ASEAN PhD fellowships exclusively for ASEAN Nationals at IITs with a budget outlay of $45 million.