India,US to take high-tech coop. to higher levels

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (UNI) India and the United States today decided to take high technology cooperation to a higher level and agreed on a comprehensive plan to respond to the industry's recommendations for enhancing high-tech transfers to India.

The highlights of the action plan include a timetable for reviewing export controls in respect of India and building on innovative efforts already underway for simplifying export controls.

The decisions were taken at the sixth meeting of the India-US High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) whch concluded here today.

The Indian side at the two-day talks was led by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and the US delegation by Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, Mario Mancuso.

The HTCG, constituted in 2003, had identified four broad areas of priority focus for promoting and facilitating bilateral commerce in advanced technology items between India and the US. These are Defence and Strategic Trade, Bio-technology, Information Technology and Nanotechnology.

The architecture of the HTCG involves private sector participation as an integral part of its working format.

The industry engagement on the first day yesterday, with wide participation of a cross-section of Indian and US industry, identified areas of common interest requiring specific action by both sides for enhancing high technology transfers to India.

These were considered by the two Government delegations who agreed on a comprehensive plan to respond to the industry's recommendations which are geared to enhancing high-tech transfers to India.

India welcomed the US Administration's announcement of their Dual Use Export Control Reform Initiative.

On the Validated End User (VEU) Programme which was notified by the US Government on October 2, 2007, as a US initiative to simplify export licensing requirement for Indian companies, both sides agreed that further discussions were required as US export control polices should keep pace with the transformed relationship between the two countries.

In the area of Defence, the Group agreed on an ambitious plan to give an impetus to high technology transfers and trade that would address all issues related to licensing and the implementation of India's defence offsets policy, encouraging collaborations at all levels including small and medium enterprises.

On nano-technology, the two sides agreed to focus on commercial application of cost-effective solutions in the areas of health, energy, potable water and sustainable development.

On bio-technology, both Governments agreed to support advanced technology transfers that would stimulate capacity building in life sciences.

They also agreed to engage in harmonisation of regulatory systems in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and bio-technology with ultimate objective of improving market access.

On Information Technology, the two sides agreed to focus on enhanced collaboration in trade on advanced electronics and software, high performance computers, encryption and next generation technologies.

''The two sides looked forward to a series of time-bound actions in the above areas to raise high technology commerce to the next level of bilateral cooperation, in keeping with the transformed nature of the strategic partnership between India and the US,'' an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said.

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