“Technology Diplomacy is an emerging form of international diplomacy and is fast playing a central role in international relations in this century. Today the persuasiveness and effectiveness of an international diplomat is exceedingly dependent on their ability to marshal out the scientific and technical expertise in their work and for this a diplomat needs to be better equipped with requisite knowledge of science and technology to effectively take part in the international negotiations”, responded Bipul Chatterjee, Deputy Executive Director, CUTS International, on the occasion of the training programme on Technology Diplomacy held from 14-18, 2011, in Jaipur. The training programme is supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
Science and Technology which has an objective of creating ‘scientific knowledge’ has an immense potential to contribute to the welfare of the society and to positively impact economic growth and social development of a country. Knowledge has become a source of economic might and power and in recent times, the pace of technological development has increased manifold generating significant implications for international trade. An estimate states that more than 60 per cent of today’s trade occurs between firms (intra-industry trade) and it is proved that technological advancement is the most important driver of intra-industry trade.
Given this importance of technology in future economic development and the increasing level of India’s outwardness, it becomes imperative to develop the skills and knowledge of our negotiators (especially those who are engaged in negotiating comprehensive economic agreements in general and technology agreements in particular) on various aspects of technology diplomacy.
It is observed that most of the developing countries diplomat have generalised expertise while technology negotiation demand expert knowledge and understanding of scientific underpinnings especially in trade. One such reason this lacuna is relative inadequacy of education and training on technology diplomacy. A vacuum exists in terms of lack of institutions providing training on the subject and therefore, capacity building of these diplomats attains a crucial importance.
One approach to fill this vacuum is to develop the skills and knowledge of the negotiators (mainly from foreign affairs and trade ministries) on various aspects of technology diplomacy (technology promotion/acquisition, etc) or secondly is to get inputs from our scientists and technologists on their areas of expertise and then blend them with the nuances of technology diplomacy. The second approach has been undertaken by CUTS, supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, while developing the training programme on technology diplomacy.
This training programme is a blend of participants from among the scientific/technologist community and the negotiating community. However and for practical reasons, it is targeted to scientists and technologists who are working in various ministries/departments of the Government of India and their affiliated institutions.
The recently concluded training programme, held from 14 – 18 November, 2011, in Jaipur, covered a range of issues – from basics of technology diplomacy to technology promotion, technology sourcing and assessment to the application of intellectual property rights. Case studies and simulation exercise were conducted to impart practical skills and knowledge and were led by a number of distinguished experts such as B. Balakrishnan, former Ambassador to Greece , Anthony de Sa, Director, Centre for South South Industrial Cooperation, UNIDO, Deepak Bhatnagar, Head, Centre for International Trade in Technology (CITT), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT); Vinay Kumar, Former Advisor & Head, Technology Management Division and visiting faculty at IIT Delhi; Dr. Ashok Jain, Vice President, Research & Academic Development; EMPI School; and Ms Vandana Sharma, Jaipur Finishing School, T C James, Director, National Intellectual Property Organisation (NIPO), James Paul Daniel, Senior Expert, Investment and Technology Transfer Promotion Unit, UNIDO, Chitra Arvind, Principal Associate, Rajeshwari and Co. and a few in house experts in CUTS.
The feedback of the scientists and technologists from government sector highlights the need for this kind of programme to understand the use of diplomacy as a tool for generating maximum gain from agreements to transfer technology and, therefore, achieve better integration between theoretical possibilities and actual practice.