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India and United States Sign Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement

Washington, DC
October 17, 2005

The United States signed an umbrella Science & Technology (S&T) agreement with the Government of India in Washington during the October 17, 2005 visit of Indian Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal to the United States. The purpose of the agreement is to strengthen the science and technology capabilities of the United States and India, to expand relations between the extensive scientific and technological communities of both countries, and to promote technological and scientific cooperation in areas of mutual benefit.

This new agreement, which for the first time establishes intellectual property right protocols and other provisions necessary to conduct active collaborative research, will accelerate cooperation between Indian and U.S. scientists in government agencies, private sector, and academia in such areas as basic sciences, space, energy, nanotechnology, health, and information technology that will advance scientific understanding and benefit all our peoples.

Scientific and economic links between India and the United States have remained strong since the early 1960s, first in agriculture, and then spreading into a broad range of areas involving most of the U.S. government technical agencies. The United States and India established a $110 million PL480 ‘Rupee Fund’ in 1987 to promote and fund science and technology collaboration and educational and cultural exchanges. The Rupee Fund Agreement, which stimulated a broad set of cooperative activity between the U.S. and India, continued until 1998. The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (Forum), established in 2000, was created and endowed with a portion of the remaining PL480 Rupee Funds.

The Forum makes a valuable contribution to strengthening the bilateral U.S.-India relationship by exploring and identifying fruitful areas of cooperation through sponsoring workshops, scientist exchanges and meetings. It has sponsored major events like the India-United States Conference on Space Science, Applications and Commerce, activities in technology innovation, and climate change, and fosters contact among young promising scientists. The new science and technology Agreement will complement the activity of the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum by facilitating follow-on technical collaborations.

In 1993, the United States and India engaged in negotiations for a bilateral science and technology agreement that ceased because the two parties could not agree on intellectual property rights (IPR) provisions. However, the United States and India realize that the current relationship between our two countries and the extensive growth in technological capabilities made a science and technology agreement imperative.