India-EU collaboration represents the aspirations of 2 billion people, Jitendra Singh said

There is a need for advancing the overall India-EU Strategic Partnership through increased efforts on research and innovation, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Wednesday.

He also called for developing a shared approach at the multilateral level to address global challenges.

The Union Minister of State for Science & Technology was speaking while welcoming an EU delegation led by Ambassador Ugo Astuto.

Noting that India-European Union (EU) collaboration represents the aspiration of 2 billion people, Singh said the two sides must deepen cooperation in areas like Health, Agriculture, Water, Renewable Energy, biotechnology, Electric mobility, ICT, AI, Robotics and Environment.

He expressed happiness that the India-EU Science & Technology Agreement had been renewed recently for a period of five years.

Referring to the recently launched “Horizon Europe (2021-2027)”, which is a planned 7-year European Union scientific research initiative, he said the EU was approaching Indian scientific agencies for participation.

The Minister said India was willing to participate in this programme provided some of the concerns on issues related to IPR Sharing, scope of the joint call, Signing of Model Grant Agreement and Joint Evaluation are addressed at the satisfaction of both the sides.

He added that India was closely collaborating with the European Union in the mission innovation programme which is currently led by EU.

According to Singh, India was closely involved in shaping up Mission Innovation 2.0 where focus will be on development of time bound missions with clear deliverables and resource commitment. At the same time India was engaged in development of platforms for high-level engagement of countries for clean energy transition, especially in the wake of climate change challenges, he added.

EU Ambassador Ugo Astuto called for deepening people-to-people contact, apart from focusing on areas like clean energy, Genome Sequencing, Marine protected areas in Antarctica and Collaboration on research using high performance computing.

The Ambassador also called for greater student exchange programmes between India and EU and informed that 200 PhD and 80 higher scholars from India are pursuing scientific studies in the EU.

Astuto said that in the area of Innovation, a pilot project on match making between Indian and EU Start-ups is underway.

He also endorsed the Indian Minister’s idea of increasing cooperation in the Blue Economy as Deep Sea mining has global ramifications. India and EU agreed for more structured meetings in near future on subject specific issues.

The EU Ambassador also thanked India for its support for protecting the Antarctic environment by co-sponsoring the proposal of the European Union for designating East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) recently.

Both sides agreed that IPR, data sharing and materials/equipment transfer would be done as per relevant provisions in India-EU S&T Agreement and principles and policies of IPR. A joint panel will be created to draft the IPR and data sharing mechanisms, the press release added.