The visiting US Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Clinton and Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh today held a joint meeting to further bilateral cooperation in the field of innovative solutions to the common problems. Following is the text of the speech of Hon’ble Minister Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh:
‘Strategic Partnership’ between the two countries in high technology areas has been flagged off by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Obama. This has opened a new chapter in our cooperation. The visit of President Clinton in 2000 to India was a defining moment in our S&T cooperation agenda. Secretary Clinton, we recall with fondness that the Bi-national Indo-US Science and Technology Forum was founded during the visit of your husband as President. You might like to convey that the Forum, he seeded has grown into a full fruit yielding tree. It is the Forum which has catalyzed several of the major joint initiatives we are witnessing today.
Over the last few years, S&T engagements between our two countries have been both substantive and exhaustive. I acknowledge the contributions of our Ministry of External Affairs and the US State Department. Now we have started to address together grand challenges through the tools of science. We are working in the areas of health & biomedical sciences, food security, clean energy, water cycle and climate research.
Our cooperation in knowledge based industry sectors has ushered in a new spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship amongst our entities. In the past, we were focused on attracting people for science. Now our cooperation includes also, science for people of both countries. Our cooperation agenda represents a new measure of mutual trust and confidence. Today we wish to highlight five joint programs.
First of all, I wish to recognize the on the ongoing outcome of our Stanford-India Biodesign Program supported by the Department of Biotechnology and the Indo-US S&T Forum involving Stanford University, AIIMS and IIT-Delhi. Under this program, about 25 high quality minds have been trained to identify major health care needs and develop cost effective solutions. I am convinced that this program will provide deployable health care solutions covering a wide socio-economic spectrum. I believe that we should try to replicate and establish several such innovative programs that will not only provide affordable health care solutions to our people but also nurture young minds to become job creators and not job seekers.
Second program of our interest today is the India Innovation Growth Program. Supported by the Department of Science and Technology and Lockheed Martin Corporation it is another successful PPP model of collaboration between our countries. Over 200 Business Engagement Agreements have already been entered involving both Indian and US enterprises. Products of some technologies have entered global market place as well. Impact Analysis Report prepared by FICCI reveals that the cumulative revenue generated by the innovators during 2007-10 amounts to more than US Dollar 70 million.
The third major programme of value showcased today is the US- India Endowment Fund established by the two Governments in 2009. The creation of this Fund is another landmark in our belief to work together in the space of technology commercialization. I am certain that out joint efforts through this Fund would foster commercialization of technology leading to societal impact. The program funded by DST and the US State Department has started to roll out project grants. We have witnessed today the first batch of such investments in the broad priority areas covering 'Healthy Individuals' and 'Empowering Citizens'.
The fourth flagship is the Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC). This is a bilateral initiative of my Ministry of Science and Technology with the US Department of Energy. We have committed US Dollar 25 million from each side. The joint Centre will support multi-institutional networked projects using consortia partnership based on public-private model of funding. We are focused on areas of mutual interest covering solar energy, second generation biofuel and energy efficient buildings. We assure you Madam Secretary that we are working to announce the exciting set of first awards in the near future.
Finally, among the bouquets of innovation initiatives is our USAID Millennium Alliance, offering a new platform. Under this platform, we expect to leverage creativity of both Nations and ability of US to maximize quality and Indian strength in optimizing resources. Together, we could develop competitive affordable innovations. USAID has already contributed US Dollar 7.7 million to this initiative. Today, I am happy to announce our contribution of US Dollar 5 million to this fund. FICCI hopes to scale up the fund to US Dollar 50 million over the next twelve months. This Millennium Alliance is a newer expression of our mutual commitment to engage in another gainful partnership.
Undoubtedly our bilateral relationship today is a true partnership that uses the soft prowess of science, technology and innovation for the benefit of people and polity in both our countries. When the most powerful and large economies of the world join and develop their innovation agenda, it is bound to deliver values for global good. The world would want us to work together!”
08 May 2012