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Ambassador's remarks at opening of the symposium on "INDIA'S CHANGING INNOVATION SYSTEM: ACHIEVEMENTS, CHALLENGES, AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR COOPERATION"

Washington, DC
June 16, 2006 

Dr. Ralph Cicerone,
Hon. Kapil Sibal
Hon. Montek Singh Ahluwalia,
Hon. Paula Dobriansky,
Dr. Mashelkar,
Distinguished Participants and Guests,


India and the United States both recognize the importance of the knowledge economy. The rapid transformation of India-US relations into a multi-faceted strategic partnership is opening up new areas of cooperation which reflect this realization. In fact, most of the joint initiatives between our two countries, particularly over the last two years, are driven by science & technology.

Our agreement on the NSSP a year ago opened up prospects of cooperation in the civilian use of nuclear, space and dual use technologies, apart from missile defence. The High Technology Cooperation Group is paving the way for commercial partnerships in information technology, biotechnology, nano technology and defence production. Following the conclusion last year of a new 10 year framework for defence cooperation at the Ministerial level, a defence production group has been established. The S & T Cooperation Agreement signed between Minister Sibal and Secretary of State Rice last October, and the establishment of a fund, with an initial corpus of $ 30 million, will facilitate joint research projects amenable to industrial application. The Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, for which $ 100 million has been allocated for three years, is bringing together research institutions and corporate entities in both countries for raising agricultural productivity in India and increasing prospects for agro-industrial business. The Energy Dialogue launched last year, chaired by Dr. Ahluwalia and Secretary Bodman, who will join us soon, envisages not only the vitally important agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation, but also covers oil and gas, clean coal technologies, renewable energy sources, etc. In the wake of our successful joint relief efforts after the tsunami, we have an agreement on disaster management, to aid other countries, which is also technology driven. We also have an India-US initiative on tackling HIV / AIDS, on a global basis, involving both our governments and corporate entities. We have decided to renew and upgrade our cooperation in space, including by an agreement to launch US payloads on our moon mission. Our proposed cooperation in civil nuclear energy will benefit both India and the US, and also have a positive global impact, including in developing more environmentally friendly and proliferation resistant technologies.

Taking into account all these and other recent India-US initiatives, there could not have been a more opportune moment for a symposium on India’s changing innovation system. While welcoming you all to this symposium, I congratulate you, Dr. Ralph Cicerone, and your colleagues in the National Academies for taking this very timely initiative. I am sure that with such distinguished participants, the symposium will be most stimulating and productive and lead to enhanced awareness of the vast untapped potential of mutually beneficial scientific and technological cooperation between India and the United States.