Indian techies to help Pak IT sector

Nov 03, 2000 18:20 Hrs (IST)

Bangalore: A group of Indian information technology (IT) entrepreneurs based in the United States said on Friday that they will set up offices in Pakistan to promote the country's nascent IT sector.

"TiE (The IndUS Entrepreneurs) is not concerned with political, religious and cultural issues. Entrepreneurship unites and not divides," Raj Popli, vice-chairman of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), told reporters on the sidelines of a technology conference in Bangalore.

India and Pakistan have fought three full-scale wars since independence from Britain in 1947 and nearly came to blows again last year over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. But this has not phased TiE, a network of IT entrepreneurs and professionals of Indian origin based in California's Silicon Valley.

TiE advises tech entrepreneurs on raising capital, runs businesses and fosters entrepreneurship, and counts some of the biggest names in the global IT industry among its members.

Popli said the group would open offices in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Karachi in February 2001. The organization currently has 22 offices around the world, he added.

Pakistan recently unveiled plans to invest up to 15 billion rupees ($250 million) in the next two years to promote the tech sector, including establishing a virtual university and seven other regular universities focused on information technology.

Pakistan's software exports are worth something in the region of $30 million to $50 million, compared with India's annual exports of $4 billion in 1999/2000 (April- March).