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India And United States Sign Science And Technology Co-operation Agreement

Press Release

(AID Boston hosted a panel on Tuesday October 11 at MIT featuring members of the Indo-US Forum , V.S. Ramamurthy, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (DST), Forum Co-Chair ,Sanjay Dhande Director, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, Raghunath Mashelkar, Director General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Norman Neureiter
Director, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),Forum Co-Chair, Joseph Jen, Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Rodney Nichols Former CEO,
New York Academy of Sciences. The Forum presented many technology collaborations that are all ready in place and spoke about opportunities for the future)

The United States signed an umbrella Science & Technology (S&T) agreement with the Government of India in Washington during the October 17, 2005 visit of Indian Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal to the United States. The purpose of the agreement is to strengthen the science and technology capabilities of the United States and India, to expand relations between the extensive scientific and technological communities of both countries, and to promote technological and scientific cooperation in areas of mutual benefit.

This new agreement, which for the first time establishes intellectual property right protocols and other provisions necessary to conduct active collaborative research, will accelerate cooperation between Indian and U.S. scientists in government agencies, private sector, and academia in such areas as basic sciences, space, energy, nanotechnology, health, and information technology that will advance scientific understanding and benefit all our peoples.

Scientific and economic links between India and the United States have remained strong since the early 1960s, first in agriculture, and then spreading into a broad range of areas involving most of the U.S. government technical agencies. The United States and India established a $110 million PL480 ‘Rupee Fund’ in 1987 to promote and fund science and technology collaboration and educational and cultural exchanges. The Rupee Fund Agreement, which stimulated a broad set of cooperative activity between the U.S. and India, continued until 1998. The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (Forum), established in 2000, was created and endowed with a portion of the remaining PL480 Rupee Funds.

The Forum makes a valuable contribution to strengthening the bilateral U.S.-India relationship by exploring and identifying fruitful areas of cooperation through sponsoring workshops, scientist exchanges and meetings. It has sponsored major events like the India-United States Conference on Space Science, Applications and Commerce, activities in technology innovation, and climate change, and fosters contact among young promising scientists. The new science and technology Agreement will complement the activity of the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum by facilitating follow-on technical collaborations.

In 1993, the United States and India engaged in negotiations for a bilateral science and technology agreement that ceased because the two parties could not agree on intellectual property rights (IPR) provisions. However, the United States and India realize that the current relationship between our two countries and the extensive growth in technological capabilities made a science and technology agreement imperative.

Remarks by His Excellency Kapil Sibal, Minister of Science and Technology of India

Thank you very much.  First of all, I think this indeed is a very historic occasion.  It is indeed a milestone, as you mentioned, 15 long years after negotiations, we have now, pending this agreement, which I think is going to take forward, the collaborations between the two countries to new levels.
It was long ago, I think, in 1492 when Christopher Columbus started on his journey to discover India and landed in the Americas.  (Laughter.)  And unfortunately, since 1492 to the beginning of the new millennium, the United States hasn't taken really major steps to discover what really India is.  And I think that it does credit to the two countries that at the beginning of this millennium, that process of discovery really started, despite Nehru's book on the discovery of India, which he wrote.
And I think that this discovery is bringing the two countries together in a manner never before seen in the history of the world.  We have the oldest democracy in the world with the largest democracy in the world coming together.  And I think that the umbrella of science and technology agreement that we are signing today is going to allow us to collaborate in areas that are going to serve humanity.
I think, recently, and thank you very much for condoling with us, both of the time of the tsunami on 26th of December as well as the recent earthquake, which has devastated our regions.  Our hearts go out to the people of the United States with the devastation caused by Katrina and Rita.  And I think this is an indication that nature is giving to us that it's time for all of us to collaborate.
And if I look at this agreement, the areas we wish to collaborate on are the areas of life sciences, where a lot of diseases of the world, diseases of the poor are going to devastate large populations unless we discover new vaccines; areas of natural disasters; areas in the field of energy.  These are the new challenges of the new millennium and I think this umbrella agreement allows us to meet those challenges together.  And what better way to do it than with two countries, which have such a strong history and such a strong culture.
And, Madame Secretary, I'm particularly delighted because I think that you have a special bond with India, which you may not have realized.  And that bond is that you were confirmed on the 26th January 2005, which is our Republic Day.  (Laughter.)  And that's very special to us.  And I also heard somewhere that you had a desire to become the Commissioner of the National Football League.  (Laughter.)  Well, I have to tell you that that only is symptomatic of your competitive spirit.  Of course, if I'd continued to the live in the United States, and I lived here for four years, I would've root! ed for the New York Jets -- (laughter) -- because I stayed in New York City for several years and practiced law there.
But coming back to this relationship, I think this is really a great leap forward and I think that the world is going to see how the international community and two great nations can collaborate with each other and share common values.  And I end by reiterating what you had said at the time of your confirmation hearings, you said, "We must use American diplomacy to help create a balance of power in the world that favors freedom and the time for diplomacy is now."  We share that vision.  We want to partner with you in that enterprise.  And I think that this agreement is going to build a foundation of a partnership when Indo-U.S. relations will no longer, as Bob Blackwood used to say, as flat as a chapatti, but would be th! e size of a family-sized American hamburger.  (Laughter.)
Thank you very much and all the best.

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