India, US enhance bilateral ties through six pacts

New Delhi, Nov.8 (ANI): India and United States on Monday took further steps to enhance their bilateral and strategic partnership by signing six agreements.

The pacts included two agreements and four memorandum of understanding.

The first agreement that was signed was for the setting up of a joint clean energy research and development center in New Delhi.

Dr. M.K. Bhan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology signed it, from the Indian side, and US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer from the American side. The agreement will be valid for ten years and renewed for five years thereafter.

Once established, the center will be tasked with the responsibility of conducting joint research and development and deployment for clean energy technologies. Initial priority areas to be addressed would be solar energy, second-generation bio-fuels and building efficiency.

The center will involve the active participation of academic and private sectors of both countries, who, will work in consortia mode.

The second agreement signed was for technical cooperation for the study of dynamical seasonal prediction of the Indian summer monsoon rainfall.

The Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States signed the agreement.

Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the NOAA, signed the pact on behalf of their respective countries.

The validity of the agreement is of five years, and will deliver a useful coupled ocean-atmospheric general circulation model to predict the Indian summer monsoon rainfall.

Under the agreement, a "Monsoon desk" will be set up at National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) of the NOAA to focus on and coordinate all activities for India's monsoon-related work, including the "Monsoon Mission".

Officials of the two sides also signed four Memoranda of Understanding. They included:

(1) An MOU for cooperation in setting up a Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership

Dr. Srikumar Banerjee, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy and US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer signed the MOU on behalf of their respective countries. Under this agreement, India and the United States have said they would like to promote cooperation on initiatives aimed at strengthening global nuclear security and addressing threats of nuclear terrorism.

The agreement, with a validity of ten years, also calls for cooperation on programs for capacity building in technology, human resource development, education and training, besides giving impetus to research and development in nuclear science and technology in these areas.

(2) An MOU to establish a India-US Energy Cooperation Program

The Planning Commission and ministries dealing with the energy sector, the US Trade and Development Agency and the US Department of Commerce will be the nodal agencies responsible for the implementation of this MOU.

Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak signed the MOU. Its validity lasts till either India or the US decide to opt out.

It has three salient features namely (a) To promote use of clean energy and energy efficiency businesses (b) To mobilize private sector expertise and resources on energy-related issues in both India and the United States and (c) To fund studies and related project development work on clean and efficient energy best practices.

(3) An MOU on Shale Gas Resources

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas through the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons and the US State Department are the nodal agencies responsible for implementation of this agreement.

Sudhir Bhargava, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Dr. david Goldwyn, Coordinator (International Energy Affairs) in the US State Department, were the signatories to this MOU, which is open-ended and can be discontinued by either participant.

This too has three salient features namely (a) Cooperation in assessing shale gas resources in Indian basins (b) Cooperation in technical studies and training of Indian personnel for assessing shale gas resources and (c) US Geological Survey will carry out studies on shale gas resources and provide a report to the Indian side.

(4) An MOU for the establishment and operation of a Global Disease Detection Center in India

The National Center for Disease Control, Delhi and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, will be the nodal agencies monitoring implementation of this MOU.

Dr. L.S. Chauhan, Director (NCDC) and his US counterpart signed the agreement on behalf of the two countries. It has a validity of five years.

It has five salient features namely (a) Development of human resources, both in epidemiology and laboratory (b) Sharing best practices for detection and response to emerging infections, wherever required (c) Advanced training in field epidemiology (d) Surveillance for emerging infectious diseases, international health and mentoring of public health professionals and (e) uilding laboratory capacity in India for diagnosis of emerging infectious diseases. (ANI)

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