Microsoft says Indian tech ecosystem will be critical to the development and adoption of AI globally. Wikimedia Commons

American tech giant, Microsoft believes the Indian tech ecosystem will be a key driver for the development and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) globally.

Ahmed Mazhari, President of Microsoft Asia, pointed out that the American software maker engages with the Indian IT services players not only as a collaborator on projects but also as a customer and seller.

The top executive said Microsoft is excited about the upcoming collaborative endeavours. "Indian companies will help customers across the world implement AI. I see that as a very important strategic growth lever for Indian IT services companies," Mazhari said in an interview with the Economic Times.

As far as Asia is concerned, Microsoft is engaged with global system integrators (SI) in two regions including Japan and India.

In Japan, the company has engagements with the likes of Fujitsu, NEC and Hitachi. Likewise, the Redmond-based tech giant engages with the likes of Infosys, TCS and others in India.

"We have a very deep relationship that has been built over the last two decades, and we do a lot of work with these players. These relationships are 360 relationships, and serve us in many ways," Mazhari told Businessline.

Microsoft's relationship with IT services players

There are 3 ways Microsoft engages with IT services players. The company plays the role of "customer" for certain services, and sells to others.

Aside from this, the company collaborates with banks, public utilities, hospitals and other entities on platform implementations, particularly within the Microsoft IT services framework prevalent in India.

"We see the tech ecosystem as supercritical to enablement of AI and they will play a very important role," Mazhari said. For instance, Infosys is one of the largest IT-enabled services (ITeS) companies that use GitHub and is driving productivity at scale, he noted.

In a bid to enable the implementation of services, the tech behemoth is also focusing on enhancing the talent base. In line with this, the company has introduced upskilling programs and certification courses.

Mazhari also expressed his views on enterprise adoption in India. He believes Indian companies are sparing no effort to integrate advanced technology and AI.

For example, Indian low-cost airline IndiGo's AI chatbot uses the Microsoft OpenAI platform for booking tickets. Similarly, the flag carrier of India, Air India, has successfully moved its data centre to Azure cloud.

On top of that, India has an enormous community of GitHub developers, comprising a whopping 13.2 million developers currently and is expected to surpass the US by 2027.

"India contributes significantly to AI projects, accounting for one in four globally, so I am very excited. Recent economic research also suggests that leveraging AI could unlock a potential increase of over 621 billion in productive capacity within India's economy," Mazhari said.

It is also worth noting that Microsoft is gearing up to spend £2.5 billion on the UK's AI infrastructure. Moreover, Microsoft President Brad Smith recently met with China's Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao to discuss various topics including AI.