India and South Africa are celebrating 20-years of strategic corporation this year. Dr. Harsh Vardhan – Union Minister for S&T and Earth Sciences, Environment, Forests & Climate Change, attended the celebrations of the collaboration in science and technology in Durban.
Inter-governmental accord on cooperation in the field of Science & Technology was completed in the year 1995. Since then the S&T collaboration has gradually evolved as an important support in the India-South Africa strategic partnership based on mutual trust, warmness and friendship.
So far, the collaboration has been concentrated on chosen areas like Astronomy & Astrophysics, Indigenous Knowledge System, Agriculture Sciences, Green Chemistry, and Health Sciences where both nations have complementary strengths.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to S. Africa last year, the S&T cooperation has seen a major boost with launch of Eight new projects on Astronomy which will help to augment the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope mission led by South Africa.
The scientists from India will be participating in several design work packages of SKA, notably the the Central Signal Processing and Telescope Manager.
Telescope Manager System will be the controlling nerve centre behind the performance of the Square Kilometre Array observatory. The Square Kilometre Array project will address some of the most exciting science goals in astrophysics, ranging from the very early Universe to the search for intelligent life out there.
A multi-institutional mission on HIV Vaccine Research Collaboration has been also commenced this year. This is intended to expand preventive HIV vaccine and will also lead to the recognition of biomarkers and development of novel techniques for diagnosis and management of tuberculosis.
India-South Africa Collaboration
The collaboration between India-South Africa reached to the many milestones. Recently the collaboration hit the new high with the launch of a new program on ‘Grass Root Innovation’ aimed towards sharing of open source technologies and IPR protection of traditional knowledge systems.
This program is intended for co-development of products through value addition, validation through product deployment and market ready technology transmit with a focus on affordability.
This collaboration on grass root innovation will offer scientific and technological solutions for addressing the unmet needs of the common man. The novel proposal has been aptly named as ‘Gandhi-Mandela Program on Grass Root Innovation’. National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad will implement this program on the Indian side.
India is a foremost country in the ISA-International Solar Alliance partnership and has extended an invite to S. Africa to join this alliance. Both countries also agreed on that another area of potential partnership is on blue economy looking at the marine eco-system including the living and non-living resources of the ocean.
Both S. Africa and India are maritime countries and are a part of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. Indian expedition to Antarctica is also commenced from Cape Town. Both countries stand to grow by appreciative the ocean processes which form the climate and coastal eco-system.