India, AAAS Explore Science Diplomacy

India and the United States should explore a range of cooperative initiatives in science and technology, including joint projects in developing nations such as Afghanistan and large-scale research collaborations, delegates concluded at a workshop in Bangalore.

These recommendations and others emerged from a 3-day workshop on science diplomacy, organized by India’s National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) and AAAS, that convened top-level scholars, diplomats, and science policy leaders. They explored an area that holds great promise and importance: How can the two science powers conduct science diplomacy and cooperate on critical science-related issues?

Participants from both nations urged follow-up efforts to build an enduring and productive relationship.

“We should be addressing as partners some of the pressing global problems like renewable energy, climate change, or drugs for infectious diseases,” said NIAS Director V. S. Ramamurthy, a nuclear physicist and former secretary to the Indian Department of Science and Technology. “Such things will happen when diplomats and policy-makers learn to appreciate the scientific and technological strengths and needs of the [two] countries.”

“We are living at a time when science and technology are embedded in almost all of human activity,” said AAAS Chief Executive Officer Alan I. Leshner, the executive publisher of Science. “The global scientific community has to function in a more global way.... Bilateral scientist-to-scientist contact and collaboration are not enough to do this. There is a requirement to ‘harmonize’ global science—to make values, policies, and regulations compatible.”

The meeting was supported by the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum.