Remarks at Innovation Partnerships Event

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Indian Minister of Science and Technology Vilasrao Deshmukh
Taj Palace Hotel
New Delhi, India
May 8, 2012

MINISTER DESHMUKH: Good morning. Honorable Secretary of State and ladies and gentlemen, let me exchange a warm welcome to Secretary Clinton, for I have the first public engagement here in Delhi. I’m glad that this engagement is in the areas of science and innovation, which is our common priority. In fact, Madam Secretary, I was planning to visit U.S.A. today. (Laughter.) In view of our common interest in a joint innovation program and your visit to Delhi, I also rescheduled my plans and created this time space. Together – (applause) – we have witnessed just now a wonderful display of technology innovation. We have interacted with the powerful minds of some innovators. I’m fully convinced that our bilateral cooperation in the innovation space enjoys a bright future.

Strategic partnership between the two countries is – high technology areas has been flagged of by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Obama. This has opened a new chapter in our cooperation. The visit of President Clinton in 2000 to India was a defining moment in our science and technology cooperation agenda. Secretary Clinton, we recall with fondness that the bi-national Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum was founded during the visit of your husband as President. You might like to convey that the forum he seeded has grown into a full fruit-yielding tree. It is the forum which has catalyzed several of the major joint initiatives we are witnessing today.

Over the last few years, science and technology engagements between our two countries have been both substantial and exhaustive. I acknowledge the contribution of our Ministry of External Affairs and the U.S. State Department. Now, we have started to address together a grand challenge through the tools of science. We are working in the areas of health, biomedical science, food security, clean energy, water cycle, and climate research. Our cooperation in knowledge-based industry sector has assured in full spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among our entities. In the past, we were focused on attracting people for science. Now, our cooperation includes also science, but people of both countries. Our cooperation agenda represents a new measure of mutual trust and confidence.

Today, we wish to highlight the five-point program. But first of all, I wish to recognize the ongoing outcome of our Stanford-India Biodesign program supported by the Department of Biotechnology and the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum involving Stanford University, AIIMS, IIT-Delhi. Under this program, about 25 high-quality minds have been trained to identify major healthcare needs and develop cost effective solutions. I’m convinced that this program will provide deployable healthcare solution covering a wide socioeconomic spectrum. I believe that we should try to replicate and establish several such innovative programs that will not only provide affordable healthcare solutions to our people, but also nurture the young minds to become job creators and job seekers – and not job seekers.

Second program about interest today is the India Innovation Growth Program supported by Department of Science and Technology and Lockheed Martin Corporation. It is under the successful BPP model of collaboration between our countries. Our 200 business engagements agreements have already been entered involving both India and U.S. enterprises. Products of some technologies have entered global marketplace as well as impact analysis report prepared by FICCI reveals that committed revenue generated by the innovators there in 2007 and ’10 amount to more than 70 U.S. million dollars.

The third major program of value showcased today is U.S.-India Endowment Fund established by two governments in 2009. The creation of this fund is another landmark in our belief to work together in the space of technology commercialization. I’m certain that our joint effort through this fund would foster commercialization of technology leading to societal impact. The program funded by DST and U.S. State Department have started to roll out project grants. We have witnessed today the first batch of such investment in the broad priority areas covering health issues and empowering citizens.

The fourth flagship is the Indo-U.S. Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center. This is a bilateral initiative of my Ministry of Science and Technology with the U.S. Department of Energy. We have committed 25 million U.S. dollar from such – from each side. The joint center will support multi-institutional network project using consortia, partnerships based on public-private model of funding. We are focused on the areas of mutual interests covering solar energy, second generation bio-fuel, and energy efficient buildings. We assure you, Madam Secretary, that we are working to announce the exciting set of first awards in this – in the near future.

Finally, among the focus of innovation initiative, our USAID Millennium Alliance offering a new platform. Under this platform we expect to leverage creativity of the both nations an ability of U.S. to maximize quality Indian strength in optimizing resources. Together, we could develop competitive, affordable innovation. USAID has already contributed $7.7 million U.S. to this initiative. Today I’m happy to announce other contribution of U.S. $5 million to this fund. (Applause.)

FICCI hopes to scale up this fund to 50 million U.S. dollar over the next 12 months. This Millennium Alliance is a newer expression of our mutual commitment to engage another gainful partnership. Undoubtedly, our bilateral relationship today is a true partnership that uses a soft progress of science and technology and innovation for the benefit of people, the priority in both our countries. When the most powerful, large economies of the world join and develop their innovation agenda, it is bound to deliver values of global good. The world would want us to work together.

Let me end with assurance of my government’s fullest commitment and support to this bilateral endeavor and invite you, Madam Secretary, for your valuable thoughts and impressions. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Minister, that was wonderful. Thank you so much. Well, good morning, and let me begin by thanking Minister Deshmukh for rearranging his schedule and being here today so that together we could highlight the excellent work that is taking place in the area of science and technology. And I thank you, Minister, for your warm welcome and for your personal work to strengthen trade and partnership between India and the United States. Our two great democracies share an enduring commitment to innovation. For decades, scientists, engineers, and social innovators from India and the United States have worked side-by-side. The most famous example, perhaps, are the agricultural improvements that led to the Green Revolution.

Today, I met entrepreneurs from an organization called Digital Green who are carrying on that work using technology to share agricultural best practices with farmers themselves. It is now possible, thanks to communications technology, for farmers to be in their villages looking at videos about agricultural techniques that they then can apply in their own work. Innovations like this – the one from Digital Green – has a ripple effect, generating economic growth, strengthening communities, supporting rural livelihoods, and improving health outcomes. We want to make it possible for more Indian and American entrepreneurs to collaborate on new ventures, more scientists and scholars to share data and build upon each other’s research, more students to live and learn together at each of our universities. Ultimately, we hope to foster generations of innovative thinkers and leaders who will continue to improve the lives of the Indian and American people and contribute to improving the lives of people everywhere.

We also want our governments to embrace the spirit of innovation to improve our own work and strengthen our partnership. And let me give you a few examples as to how we’re doing this: First, I am proud to announce the winner of the first U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Board grant. That is an initiative that I was privileged to launch with Minister Krishna on my first visit in early 2009 as Secretary here. The grant goes to a partnership between an American startup, Promethean Power, and India-based Icelings. They have developed a solar-powered system for refrigerated storage to keep fresh fruits and vegetables from spoiling. And this is a huge advance for India because lack of storage causes Indian farmers to lose approximately $10 billion in crops each year. This innovation promises farmers more income while also improving consumer’s access to fresh produce throughout the year. This partnership united different experiences and areas of expertise, and now with a little help from the endowment fund, Promethean Power and Icelings are helping solve a practical challenge that will make a real difference to people’s lives and incomes.

Second, I want to highlight a new Millennium Alliance initiated last year by USAID, our development agency, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry that is supported by the Government of India. This public-private partnership will help fund development solutions that deliver sustainable results for people and can be shared across the world. And at our Higher Education Dialogue this June, representatives of both governments, along with leaders from our higher education institutions, will examine additional ways in which new technologies can advance collaborations in education.

Third, one of the displays I had a chance to see earlier – and if the press and the people in attendance haven’t seen the displays, I hope that you will have a chance to do so – but one of them was the Stanford-India Biodesign project, which has developed an infant resuscitator, and the Lockheed Martin Innovation Growth program has awarded a grant to 3nethra for an eye scanner that can detect treatable diseases before they cause blindness. Both these cutting-age innovations cost a fraction of other medical devices that address these same problems, make lifesaving healthcare available to people who may not otherwise be able to afford treatment.

And finally, I want to recognize a young woman with us today. Bharati Chaturvedi is the leader of a group called Chintan India, which was one of the first ever winners of our Secretary of State’s Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. This award is a partnership between the State Department and the Rockefeller Foundation to support women’s equal participation in science, technology, entrepreneurship, and in all aspects of society, because, of course, you would expect me to believe, as I do, that women add a valuable perspective to problem solving, and supporting women in science is one of our priority areas of engagement between our countries. We will discuss this in more depth in June when we host the 2nd U.S.-India Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation in Washington.

Now there are many more examples. The minister and I could literally keep you here all day, but we will not do that, I promise. But we are already developing, from the first commitment to cooperation back in 2000 when my husband paid a state visit, through the work that we’re doing today in the Obama Administration – we know we can make an enormous amount of progress. Some of the brightest minds of our two societies are already working together. They are seeking solutions for shared problems, and they are building the industries and creating the jobs for tomorrow.

So we can and do – we can and must do more on the government level to spur institutional partnerships. These public-private partnerships are really an incredible way to bring the best of government and the best of industries, academia, and non-for-profit organizations together. And I hope that we will see even more sprouting forth. We look to you, the innovators, the inventors, the researchers, the dreamers, in this audience today for your leadership. The minister and I are happy to be in receive mode. We want to hear from you about what you think will work. We are working hard to set up the institutions that will then be responsive, but it’s really up to each of you who has that idea and is willing to work hard in order to see it come into reality.

So Minister, again, thank you. And thanks to all of the innovators; thanks to all the public-private partners. We are really excited by the progress we’re making together. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Thank you minister. Thank you so much. Thank you.

PRN: 2012/ T63-19