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India, ASEAN agree to create joint fund

Special Correspondent

It would be used for undertaking collaborative R&D, technology development


  • Summit decides to design regulatory framework
  • Institute for Intellectual Property to be set up

    NEW DELHI: India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to create a joint fund for development of science and technology in the region. The agreement was reached at the two-day India-ASEAN technology summit that concluded here earlier this week. The meeting was organised by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

    Announcing the agreement, Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal and the Malaysian Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation and the leader of the ASEAN delegation, Jamaluddin Mohammed Jarjis, said the details of the fund would be worked out soon. The fund would be used for undertaking collaborative R&D and technology development in areas of common interest, including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, agriculture for food security and advanced materials.

    The summit also decided to design a regulatory framework by harmonising the standards for biotechnology products and the agricultural processing industry, and to establish an India-ASEAN Institute for Intellectual Property to help build human resource capacities and training.

    Mr. Sibal and Mr. Jarjis said the regulatory framework had been thought of to cut down on the huge costs involved in getting approvals for biotechnology products, and to ensure that the value additions that would accrue would benefit the people of the region. They asserted that while trying to cut costs, there would be no compromise on standards.

    Potential

    Mr. Jarjis said that ASEAN, which was hitherto looking to the Western world for scientific developments, now felt that India could offer the same potential at a much lower cost. The grouping was particularly interested in the rapid strides being taken by India in the area of information and communications.

    The summit also decided to create a knowledge grid covering India and the ASEAN member-countries.

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