Bilateral catalyst: 

Bilateral catalyst

Modi’s recent visit promises Science & Technology development

Context

  • Science and technology, a key driver for innovation and job creation in both countries, is taking Centre stage in U.S – India strategic relations.

Focus on Science and Technology

  • Knowledge and technology have recently become vital to most of the bilateral agreements and strategic dialogues between India and U.S.
  • Bilateral agreements such as the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy and joint participation in mega projects in the areas of fundamental science such as the High Intensity Superconducting Proton Accelerator, the Thirty Meter Telescope, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory and the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Mission creates huge impact.

Impacts

  • Such focus has a positive impact on all spheres of collaboration such as education, economy and trade, defense and homeland security, energy and climate, health, agriculture and space.
  • Knowledge generated through science and technology needs to be capitalized in order to fuel the process of innovation and the creation of an entrepreneurial class which can help find solutions for the society at multiple levels.

Why do we need it?

  • The core gears of India’s innovation ecosystem need to be supported by enabling systems and practices to transform technologies and inventions into products.
  • Learning from U.S. institutions the practices of the innovation value chain ranging from ideation to prototyping and business-friendly incubation of the prototypes and the fostering of a proper legal and investor-friendly milieu will make a visible difference on the ground.
  • To further strengthen the existing system of collaboration and help initiate new ones, India needs to understand the science, technology and innovation (STI) landscape in the U.S.

What India needs to do?

  • India’s institutional system needs to enable the scientists and engineers to pair up with business mentors to make the successful journey from the laboratory to the marketplace.
  • Initiatives like the U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund, the Stanford-India Biodesign Programme and the Khorana Technology Transfer programme should be strengthened to enhance the efficiency and productivity of our emerging innovation system.
  • Integrating American technologies with products of Indian grassroots innovations will enhance the value of the latter and make them scalable, affordable and marketable.
  • A database of U.S.-based inventors, their inventions and technologies relevant to India needs to be created.
  • The existing collaborative partnerships and student exchange programmes between research institutions and universities in both the countries need to be strengthened at various levels including university-to-university, university-to-industry, industry-to-industry, and consortia-to-consortia levels.
  • Joint incubators, to enable Indian start-ups to introduce products in the U.S. market and to facilitate U.S.-based start-ups to enter India with inflow of technologies, mentors and best business practices, should be set up.
  • The knowledge and skills of the successful Indian diaspora and Indophiles in the American administration should be leveraged to not only support the Indian start-up ecosystem but also to raise funds for programmes that will help India achieve inclusive development.
  • India’s pledge to manufacture locally, create more jobs and stay ahead of the competition can be redeemed to a great extent by marrying the Indian skills of low-cost innovation.
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