“For any modern country, international cooperation in science is absolutely necessary” and holds as much importance as collaboration in the fields of trade, economics and politics, said Kishan Rana, Former Ambassador of India to Germany and Professor Emeritus, DiploFoundation. Ambassador Kishan Rana, an expert in technology diplomacy, was delivering the keynote address at the Training Programme on Science and Technology Diplomacy organised by CUTS International, a Jaipur based non-governmental think tank, with the support of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. This five day long workshop is being conducted to enhance the capacity of Indian scientists, working with various government departments, to conduct successful technology diplomacy.
Ambassador Rana said that science is the foundation for economic activity and is important for building relationships with countries. He pointed out that presently India has only 4 science counsellors placed abroad, as against Japan which has 28 specialist scientific officers positioned in other countries. But, he emphasised that India now plans to expand its scientific collaboration and the number of these counsellors will see an increase in the near future. In the light of this development, capacity building of scientists in technology diplomacy through such workshops will be crucial to prepare them for the new environment of collaboration, including South-South cooperation. Rana cited examples of Indian partnerships with Kenya and Mauritius for scientific research and development.
Earlier in his introductory remarks, Atul Kaushik, Advisor (Projects), CUTS International, highlighted the importance of science and technology, and diplomacy therein and said that irrespective of the size, all countries need to collaborate. He also said that there are examples of good and bad technology diplomacy, and it is important to learn to distinguish between them. He acquainted the participants with CUTS experience in organising training programme on technology diplomacy and in Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and emphasised that this workshop aims to provide knowledge about various aspect of technology diplomacy and gives an opportunity to expand the horizon of the scientists attending it.
Scientists attending this workshop work with various government agencies like Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), Central Institute of Cotton Research. While introducing themselves, most of the participants agreed that due to limited knowledge of technology diplomacy, there is a great loss of opportunities for India. They conveyed their expectations from this workshop and hoped to be prepared better for dynamic collaborative environment which involves many private players and international governments and experts.