‘India-US tech summit ‘unique opportunity’ for both countries’

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Washington | Published: November 14, 2014 11:59:20 AM

The India-US Technology Summit next week presents a "unique opportunity" for both countries to showcase...

The India-US Technology Summit next week presents a “unique opportunity” for both countries to showcase how technology and innovation partnerships can meaningfully change lives, a top American diplomat has said.

“The India-US Technology Summit, taking place next week in New Delhi, represents a unique opportunity for both countries to showcase how technology and innovation partnerships –- both between our governments and our private sectors –- can meaningfully change the lives of every single person on Earth,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal said.

“Ours is truly a partnership for the people and centuries to come,” Biswal wrote on the Indiaspora website.

Being held in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industries, the India US Technology Summit on November 18 and 19 aims at providing a platform to industries, institutions and government agencies from the two countries to exchange ideas, showcase their expertise and forge new partnerships to increase trade and investment in the knowledge sector.

John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), will lead the US delegation to the Summit.

“We can accomplish far more together if our best and brightest from industry, academia, and laboratories are connected and coordinated,” Biswal said.

“By fostering linkages between industry, research, and government in India and the United States, we hope this Summit will encourage innovative partnerships. Such joint ventures have the potential to generate economic growth and jobs, helping people live longer and healthier lives, and finding solutions to global development challenges,” she said.

“Our work in the energy sector is a perfect illustration of the potential impact of the partnerships that we hope will take root at, and be strengthened by the Summit,” Biswal said, adding that there are over 400 million people in India who are not connected to reliable electrical grids.

To address this pressing problem, she pointed out that the United States government has launched the Off-Grid Alliance, which will enhance access to financing and the certification of off-grid technology.

“While this is an important step forward, we urgently need help in identifying sustainable market solutions to these energy challenges,” Biswal wrote.

“The convergence of hundreds of innovators, researchers, academics and government officials at the Summit next week, presents an incredible opportunity for these leaders to join together to address critical issues in the energy sector, as well as so many other areas,” she said.
Biswal said that next week’s gathering is just one among many steps that they are taking to foster greater collaboration and facilitate real progress.

The US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) have agreed to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that enables Ex-Im Bank to make available up to USD 1 billion in financing to support Made-in-America renewable energy goods and services in connection with critical clean energy projects in India, she said.

“Next week at the Summit, Ex-Im Bank and IREDA are expected to sign and formally announce this MOU, and will discuss how our respective renewable energy sectors can more closely collaborate. The Partnership to Advance Clean Energy has separately mobilised USD 2.4 billion for clean energy finance,” Biswal wrote on the website.

“These initiatives support India’s goal of transitioning to a low-carbon and climate-resilient energy economy, while creating and sustaining renewable energy jobs in the United States,” she said.

Urban planning and infrastructure and health are the other two sectors being focused at the Summit.

“Our hope in partnering with India for the Technology Summit is to bring together the visionaries who seek to address challenges in the energy, water and sanitation, infrastructure, science and technology, innovation, health, manufacturing, and information technology sectors in a sustainable way, and improve the lives of Americans, Indians, and people across the globe in the process,” Biswal said.

“Two-way trade between the United States and India has increased fivefold since 2001 to nearly USD 100 billion. We believe this is just the beginning, which is why during their first bilateral meeting together President Obama and Prime Minister Modi committed to increasing trade another fivefold,” she said.

“To achieve that goal the United States and India will need to expand the breadth and depth of an already robust US-India science and high technology relationship; we hope the Summit will facilitate progress toward this goal,” Biswal said.

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