International collaborations boosting expertise, leveraging S&T

A recent agreement between European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), an organization that promotes excellence in life science in Europe and beyond and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) provides Indian researchers access to EMBO funding schemes and opens up considerable new opportunities for the Indian scientific community. EMBO and DBT together are undertaking a country-wide dissemination exercise to publicize the newly available schemes.

CSIR also has numerous scientific exchange agreement with DAAD, Germany and CSIR scientists visit Germany each year under this programme. German scientists also visit CSIR laboratories. Collaborations like these help talented researchers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

The impact of scientific inventions and discoveries has changed the features of the world and twisted this cosmic world into a "little neighborhood" bringing the best expertise across nations together. India continues to play an active role in improving the research ecosystem of Higher Educational Institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the renowned Institutions of the world.

It is quite helpful in meeting out the deficiencies of the resources and in getting advanced technology with competitive price and market skills. Nowadays, foreign collaborations in India are attaining heights due to liberalization, privatization and globalization. Engagement between India and countries like the United Kingdom, United States, Israel, and Russia is set to get a major boost as top officials of the two countries expressing their commitment to give collaboration a new thrust.

The International S&T Affairs Directorate (ISTAD), at the CSIR Head Quarters, New Delhi spearheads CSIR's linkages with international scientific & technical agencies across the globe for carrying out collaborative and contract research in frontier areas of science and technology. CSIR has, over the years, developed a vast array of innovative products, processes and technologies for its global partners in Germany, USA, UK, and many other countries..

International collaborations are sought under the bilateral, multilateral or regional collaborative framework for facilitating and strengthening interactions among governments, academia, institutions and industries in the research areas of mutual interest. Department of Science and Technology (DST) under Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India has International Cooperation division whose mandate is to negotiate, conclude and implement Science and Technology (S&T) agreements between India and other countries along with providing interventions on S&T aspects in international forums. This responsibility is carried out by the DST in close consultation on the Indian side with the Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Missions Abroad, S&T Counselors at Germany, Japan, Russia and USA, stakeholders in scientific, technological & academic institutions, concerned governmental agencies and with various industry associations in India.

Presently, India has bilateral S&T cooperation agreements with 83 countries with active cooperation with 44 countries. During recent years the cooperation has strengthened significantly with Australia, Canada, EU, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Russia, UK, and USA. Cooperation with African countries has also been strengthened through the India Africa S&T Initiative. The soft prowess of S&T has been leveraged to engage with several countries under India's Act East policy and with some neighboring countries. Moreover, DST currently supports three bi-national S&T Centers which are independent entities established under inter-governmental bilateral agreements with France, USA, and Germany.

Indo-French Centre for Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR / CEFIPRA): It is a bilateral organization set up by the Government of India and Government of France. It proposes a model for international collaborative research in advanced areas of Science &Technology.

Indo-US Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF): It acts as a catalyst to promote long-term scientific collaborations between India and the U.S. through partnership amongst individual scientists, scientific institutions and the scientific community at large.

Indo-German Science & Technology Centre (IGSTC): Advance industrial research partnership with mutuality of interest and respect and develop knowledge network for industrial sectors to enhance competitiveness and also established joint knowledge pools to address global challenges

Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is increasingly trying to focus and promote collaborative research to solve a myriad of socio-economic as well as environmental challenges, which will have a footprint on generations to come.  Collaborative research is indispensable for science driven society to have an influence on scale globally. Therefore, joining hands and pursuing complementary targeted research with the best in the world will leapfrog Indian science and research community to the next level of innovation, transformation, and skill development. Furthermore, to mount technology across disciplines and nations DBT is implementing international collaborative programmes (like India-UK Cancer Research Initiative, Indo-US Joint Programme on Cancer Research, Indo-US collaboration on Vision Research, The Indo-US Vaccine Action Programme (VAP),  MoU between DBT and Business Finland, Programme of Cooperation) with other countries such as   Sweden, Denmark, United States of America, Brazil, Cuba, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Programme, United Kingdom, Russia, European Union.

Likewise, India has several bilateral Science & Technology (S&T) cooperation agreements with other countries to facilitate cooperation in the areas of biomedical research. ICMR operates in close cooperation with the Indian Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Science & Technology, Ministry of External Affairs, Indian missions abroad and foreign missions in India for the international collaborations.

By and large, biomedical research/health sciences prominently figure in all bilateral agreements in the field of Science & Technology. In addition, there are few specific agreements signed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with other countries as well as those signed directly by ICMR with International organizations/ Institutions. The purpose of these agreements has been for exchange of scientific information, exchange of scientists/technicians for training under the projects, joint execution of scientific projects, including support in the procurement of scientific equipment; and also the organization of joint scientific meetings, seminars, workshops, symposia in identified subjects of cooperation.

International Cooperation in defence / military technology is a farsighted high payoff that provides the basis for technological progress in the country. It provides an insight into the best practices of defence research, innovative technologies and an opportunity to complement own efforts by leveraging homegrown technology with the help of foreign collaboration. The Directorate of International Cooperation (DIC) in this respect plays a very distinct, progressive and responsible role. It harnesses international collaboration to complement indigenous efforts of DRDO. DRDO enjoys a very good relationship with many developed and technologically advanced countries who wish to partner with DRDO in collaborative research, co-development/co-production, a technology consultancy, and acquisition

DIC provides a single window interface to DRDO's labs for pursuing international defence research cooperation with friendly foreign countries and represents DRDO in all international forums. DIC in this role of facilitator, guides, prioritizes and coordinates international cooperation activities in line with the mission, vision and the technology road map of DRDO. The effort at DIC is to map technology requirements of DRDO with the technology available worldwide with friendly foreign countries and explore opportunities to make them available to DRDO labs.

The Directorate represents DRDO on various g-to-g bilateral, multilateral and Inter-Ministerial forums on defence cooperation, disarmament, and international security, and export-control regulatory meetings. DIC also represents DRDO on Intra-Ministerial-Working-Group (IMWG) under DGFT, Ministry of Commerce on matters pertaining to the export of controlled items which could have potential WMD use and are listed on SCOMET list of materials and technology.

The Indian Defense Ministry has developed a policy to minimize dependence on imports and infuse self-reliance in Defense manufacturing by enhancing the relationship between Indian Private Sector companies and foreign companies. Main battle tanks, lightly armored helicopters, submarines, Single-engine fighter aircraft, and armored fighting vehicles are the categories initially opened for auction by such strategic partnerships. Many private sector companies have since ventured into the Defense sector and actively seeking foreign partnerships. Some recent strategic partnerships include; a) Reliance Defense entered into a JV agreement with France based Daher Aerospace for Aerospace equipment manufacturing in India. The facility will be the first ‘Make in India’ Defense project set at the Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park in Nagpur, b) Tata Group signed an agreement with American Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin to jointly manufacture the combat-proven F-16 fighter jets in India and Wipro Infrastructure Engineering (WIN) entered an alliance with Israel’s largest Aerospace and c) Defense firm Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), to manufacture composite aerostructure parts and assemblies in India.

There is a greater urge for human relations, a deeper desire for international understanding, peace and goodwill. There is everywhere greater awareness of human problems and difficulties and the United Nation is constantly trying to established peace in the world on the basis of goodwill and understanding. 

Most of the countries have mortal instruments of destruction in the shape of the nuclear bomb, rockets, and missiles of ferocious range and intensity which if they used, will make an end of civilization. The concept of Friendship is dynamic. It is both a sentiment and a movement-a sentiment which draws people together and a movement which binds them for common action. So it is basically and essentially required at this time.  We must leave the national rivalries, disagreeing ideologies and aggressive ambitions and develop a common out-look on matters which are concerned with our existence to make a beautiful and peaceful world.

International Friendship Day is celebrated around the world on 30th July to bringing those of different background together. Amiability appeals to the emotions, sentiments, and even passions of the people. So this emotion can do a good deal to step up the process of a peaceful and united world in the era of mounting technology.