Within hours of landing in Brisbane for the two-day Group of 20 summit starting Saturday, PM Narendra Modi stepped out to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to interact with scientists of agriculture and biosciences. “The PM was given a demonstration of specific scientific projects, some of which are jointly funded by Australia and India,”said Prof Arun Sharma, deputy vice-chancellor (research and commercialisation), QUT.
After a presentation on AgBot, a special robot that has agricultural applications, Modi wrote on it that research is the mother of development and intrinsically linked to the development journey of mankind. He also spoke to students and said he was fortunate to meet them on the 125th birth anniversary of India’s first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru.
He interacted with QUT academicians to know more about India-Australia joint projects such as biofortification of banana, integrated bio fuel projects and robotics in agriculture. Congratulating the scientists at QUT, he said, “Agriculture will benefit from the use of science and technology.”
Sharma said: “Queensland was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to send an invitation to Mr Modi when he was the CM of Gujarat in 2012. There is a quite a lot of investment coming from Gujarat.”
The research on nutritional enrichment of bananas with iron is funded by the Australian government, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the department of biotechnology, India.
“He saw our research in pulses and how we covert waste material from agriculture or sugar waste into plastics, chemicals and bio fuel to create more value added industrial products. This is so relevant to India which is also looking at adding more rural jobs,” Sharma said after the visit.
According to Sharma, a computer science undergraduate from BITS Pilani, and a Ph.D degree holder from the State University of New York, “There is a new sense of energy, vibrancy in India. And I think, Australia is aware of it. Australian PM Tony Abbott was in India and signed the uranium deal and also extended the Australia India strategic research fund collaboration project.”
The two countries have much to offer each other, he said. “We are in some sense complementary. India has know how and manpower. Australia has natural resources and expertise in infrastructure. Its not just resources. We have similar climatic zones. The way we do agriculture and even build infrastructure is similar. We have a lot more to collaborate,” he added.
In Brisbane, where Modi arrived a bit later than scheduled, he was received by Queensland premier Campbell Newman.
The PM and his delegation are staying at the Sofitel Hotel in the central business district.“Reached Brisbane. It is bright and sunny outside,” he tweeted upon arrival.
At the G20, Modi is set to push his domestic agenda of getting black money back and seek international cooperation against black money.