Script: K V VENKATASUBRAMANIAN, Senior Journalist
Indian innovations will now be transferred to select developing countries under a new global partnership between India and the United Kingdom. The partnership will co-invest in health and climate innovations from India to transform the lives of people across Asia, Africa, and the Indian Ocean. A beginning will be made with Africa.
The launch of the ‘Global Innovation Partnership’ (GIP) was announced at a virtual Summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson earlier this week. The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, gave an ex-post facto approval to the signing of the MoU between India’s Ministry of External Affairs, and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCD).
The partnership will support Indian innovators to scale up their innovations in third countries, thereby helping them explore new markets and become self-sustainable. It will also foster the innovative ecosystem in India. GIP innovations will focus on sectors related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and thereby assist recipient countries to realise their SDGs. These innovations would accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. These will also benefit the base of the pyramid populations thus promoting equity and inclusivity in recipient countries.
The cooperation will support Indian entrepreneurs and innovators through seed funding, grants, investments and technical assistance. This would enable them to test, scale up and take their innovative development solutions to select developing countries.
The GIP will also develop an open and inclusive e-marketplace (E-BAAZAR) for cross border innovation transfer. It will focus on results-based impact assessment thereby promoting transparency and accountability.
The UK is India’s second-largest partner in research and innovation collaborations. The agreement also includes an extension of the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) to conclude its work in bringing closer higher education and research sectors and the people who work in them.
The partnership will lead to increased cooperation between British and Indian universities on crucial research in areas such as health, emerging technologies, and climate science. The collaboration would bring enterprises together to propel ground-breaking innovations to communities that need them most.
Both New Delhi and London agreed to enhance cooperation on new and emerging technologies, including digital and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) products. India has a long history of technology cooperation with Africa. It is an essential element of its development cooperation since the mid-1960s when the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme was launched. The cooperation now covers a range of areas like agriculture, renewable energy, information technology and healthcare.
During the India-UK virtual Summit, a comprehensive ‘2030 Roadmap’ was launched. It will pave the way for further expanding and deepening India-UK relations over the next decade. The ambitious plan includes commitments to deepen cooperation on health, climate action, trade, education, science and technology, and defence and security. The Roadmap will focus on people-to-people relationship and prosperity.
The two countries agreed to work together to ensure an ambitious outcome at the Conference of the Parties 26 (COP26), being hosted by the UK later this year. The two Prime Ministers also decided to expand the UK-India partnership on tackling climate change, including by accelerating the development of clean energy, transport and new technology, protecting nature and biodiversity and helping developing countries adapt to the impact of climate change.
The virtual Summit was an important opportunity to elevate India’s multi-faceted strategic ties and enhance cooperation on regional and global issues of mutual interest. India and the UK enjoy a Strategic Partnership since 2004. It has been marked by regular high-level exchanges and growing convergences in diverse areas. The bilateral trade ties are also expected to grow on a higher trajectory post the UK’s “Brexit” from the European Union (EU).