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[NEW DELHI] India has emerged as a leader in research on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in South Asia with the highest number of research publications on the subject, says a new study.
According to a report of the study published online this month (2 August) in Scientometrics, about 88 per cent of ICT publications in South Asia originate in India. 
Carried out by SolBridge International School of Business (SolBridge) and the University of Technology and Education in South Korea, the study shows that ICT publications have increased steadily in South Asia since 1993.
While India and Pakistan are surging ahead other South Asian countries are, according to the report,  lagging in ICT publications with Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal having none at all owing to the 'inability of these countries to conduct quality research'.
Developed countries led by the US are taking a keen interest in the ICT sector in South Asia and entering into collaborative research with India as well as other countries in the region, according to the authors.  
"We analysed ICT scholarly articles published in the context of South Asia from the network point of view," said Bobby Swar, one of the two authors of the report and assistant professor in ICT at SolBridge.
Swar told SciDev.Net that research in the ICT sector in South Asia lacks support from industry and is mostly led by the Indian academic community with funding provided by the government.
While India has strong research collaborations with developed countries like the US and UK, similar arrangements with other countries in South Asia were limited.
The paper recommends increased research collaborations among developing countries to learn from each other’s experiences. It stresses that India, with its strong ICT research base, could play an important role in building ICT capacity in South Asia.
"We (India) have worked on collaboration with Afghanistan and Bangladesh and realised that India can immensely benefit," Mondira Dutta, director at the Centre for South, Central, Southeast Asian and Southwest Pacific Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, told SciDev.Net. "Issues like gender and ICT are crucial in this region and could be the subject of such collaborations."
Link to abstract in Scientometrics