India expressed readiness to enhance cooperation on Arctic science and research. This was conveyed to the first ever White House Arctic Science Ministerial meeting in Washington DC where the Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan signed a statement for the purpose. The minister emphasized the significance of environment and climate change in the Arctic region and its impact on Indian Monsoon.
During his visit from last Wednesday to Sunday, Dr. Harsh Vardhan co-chaired bilateral India-US S&T Joint Commission Meeting along with Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science & Technology and reviewed the progress under five Joint Working Groups for S&T cooperation between two countries. The Commission agreed to add new areas of S&T collaboration like agriculture science, ocean wave modelling and advance manufacturing. Techno-entrepreneurship and innovation will be the centre piece of future collaboration.
He visited the Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center (GVC), a centre for research and innovation, and had meetings with Mr. Rodney A. Makoske, Senior Vice President and exchanged Letters to extend the India Innovation Growth Program (IIGP) involving DST, Lockheed Martin and TATA Trusts. The IIGP 2.0 will support “Make in India” and “Start-up India” initiatives with focus on social and technological innovations.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also attended a Reception event at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where he met the S&T leadership of over 20 countries. On the side-lines of Arctic Science Ministerial meeting, he had a meeting with Mr. Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, United Kingdom and discussed the bilateral programs. He also had a meeting with Mr. Roe Isaksen, Norwegian Minister for Education and Research and discussed the collaborations in areas of Arctic and Antarctic science and climate change.
During the visit to National Institute of Health, USA Dr. Harsh Vardhan was apprised on ongoing activities of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) by eminent scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, NIAID. Advancement of candidate vaccines for TB, Dengue, RSV and Chickungunya under bilateral Vaccine Development Program were also discussed.
The Minister also had interactions with science and technology Diaspora of DC metropolitan area at Cosmos Club, organized by Embassy of India and Indo-US Brain Trust, where eminent scientists, engineers, innovators and academicians interacted with the Minster and exchanged views on how to strengthen the scientific cooperation between the two countries. He reiterated that deep rooted S&T cooperation between scientific community and research institutions of two countries is a pillar of vibrant India-US relationship.