Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, India, Jitendra Singh had reported to hold an online meeting with the United Kingdom (UK) Science Minister, George Freeman, wherein the two discussed Green Energy collaboration between the two countries as well as a host of other issues of mutual interest.
The Indian Minister informed his British counterpart that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the UK has emerged as India’s second-largest international research and innovation partner.
The India-UK Science & Technology (S&T) collaboration has been growing at a rapid pace and the joint research program has gone from an almost zero base to close to £300-400 million now, he said.
Dwelling on the issue of India’s net-zero journey, Jitendra Singh said, energy efficiency and renewable energy are central pillars, where India has already taken lead by various initiatives like India Solar Alliance, Clean energy mission, etc.
Calling for greater India-UK collaboration in clean and green energy areas, the Minister said, four technology value chains contribute about half of the cumulative CO2 savings: technologies to widely electrify end-use sectors (such as advanced batteries); carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS); hydrogen and hydrogen-related fuels; and bioenergy. He also flagged off areas like affordable biomaterials, health data science, and livestock research, neuroscience wherein officials/scientists from both sides can discuss and explore possibilities of future collaborations.
Jitendra Singh pointed out that the Newton Bhabha MoU provided an opportunity to take India UK S&T cooperation to the next level in various research areas, for example, energy security, food and agriculture, water, health, climate change, environmental studies as well as social and cultural changes that are taking place in India. The Minister appreciated the outcome of Newton Bhabha MoU and said he looks forward to developing more bilateral collaborations of mutual benefit with dedicated financial commitments.
Jitendra Singh said that India will join the G20 troika in a few days from 1st December this year and will hold the G20 presidency from December 1, next year and India plans to convene the G20 leader’s summit in 2023 for the first time. He said the S20 group (Science track of G-20) has the most important responsibility to engage with all stakeholders in the spirit of collective foresight and develop science-based solutions to counter the multitude of challenges faced by humanity.
The Minister said that India supports the “ONE HEALTH” approach and it has proposed “Global Equitability for Health Infrastructure Development” to counter future challenges like the current pandemic” as the theme for the next S-20 Summit to be held in India.
Jitendra Singh said that this multidimensional, multi-institutional, multi-agency cooperation covers energy security, food and agriculture, water, climate change, environmental studies as well as social and cultural changes that are taking place in both countries. He recalled that during the last India UK virtual summit held in May 2021, Prime Ministers from both countries emphasized their shared commitment to an enhanced partnership in science, education, research and innovation and look forward to the next ministerial Science and Innovation Council (SIC).
Jitendra Singh informed that the “Science and Innovation Council” (SIC), is the apex body to review overall bilateral scientific cooperation (except strategic sector) between two countries and it is held once in two years alternatively in India and the UK.