S&T Ministers Conclave at IISF 2017, Chennai
India throws open its Science & Technology (S&T) Institutions to its friendly neighbouring countries and announces a slew of R&D programs for capacity building in these countries.
The Scientific Ministries and Departments of the Government of India have active international collaboration in science and technology both at the bilateral and regional level. Today India is engaged in active R&D cooperation with more than 44 countries across the globe including advanced, emerging and developing nations.
As a part of India’s foreign policy initiatives of the present government like “Neighbours First”, “Act East”, and “India-Africa Partnership”, India has now embarked upon a visible path of developmental diplomacy using science, technology and innovation that will not only help towards capacity building in R&D but also address the needs of the people through the application of science technology and innovation. To this end, for the first time, a Science and Technology Ministers Conclave was organised as a part of the 2017- India International Science Festival (IISF) being held in Chennai from 13-16 Oct. Invites were extended to S&T Ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Inaugurating the Conclave, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, informed that the purpose of the S&T Ministers Conclave was to build and strengthen partnership between the countries by identifying the priorities, needs and mechanisms that will enable a fruitful cooperation through sharing and complementing each other’s strength and resources. Afghanistan Minister of Higher Education, Abdul Latif Roshan, Bangladesh Minister of Science and Technology, Yeafesh Osman and Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri Y. S. Chowdary, outlined the priorities, challenges and opportunities in science and technology in their respective countries.
The common denominators for the scientific cooperation which emerged from the Conclave included the need to address societal challenges through application of science and technology in emerging areas such as Affordable Health care, Water security, Climate change adaptation, Agricultural science, Renewable energy, Information & Communication Technology and Natural disaster prediction and management. Dr. Harsh Vardhan informed that this would be achieved by sharing best practices access to scientific opportunities in India to individuals from across our neighbourhood nations who desire and deserve it, promote connectivity and capacity building by fostering research and education linkages with scientific and academic institutions of India and facilitate transfer of such knowledge and technologies from India which are affordable and accessible for larger public and societal good in our neighbourhood countries.