President Kovind calls for Enhanced Sci-Tech and Innovation Relations
Melbourne, November 23: “As friends and as partners, India and Australia are very fortunate,” President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind said addressing students and members of the community at the University of Melbourne, today.
On the third day of his visit to Australia, in Melbourne, he said that “Our vibrant, multicultural democracy, free press, independent judicial system and the English language bring us close together.
“And more so, when all this is so passionately wrapped in our shared love for cricket and hockey! And Master Chef”.
Speaking on ‘Australia and India as Knowledge Partners’, the President said the India-Australia knowledge partnership rests on two pillars – education cooperation and scientific collaboration.
He noted that Australia is the second most preferred destination for higher education for Indian students.
“Today, there are close to 85,000 Indian students in various parts of this country. Under the New Colombo Plan of your government, more than 1500 Australian undergraduates have studied and completed internships in India in the last few years”.
Talking about India Australia collaboration, he said the possibilities “are immense.
“As mega-bio-diverse countries, both India and Australia can enrich the world with bio-genomic wealth and improve agriculture and human health.
“Our scientists and experts can together develop climate change adaption strategies and innovative ways to manage the environment”.
The President hinted towards a Fourth Industrial Revolution, which promises to herald a more sustainable way of life.
“New-age machines powered by artificial intelligence and fast-computing algorithms can provide many answers for a clean, healthy and sustainable world”.
He noted that Australia is among the top five research partner countries for India.
The Australia India Strategic Research Fund is Australia’s biggest investment in research collaboration with any single country. Coinciding with the President’s visit, both countries have announced a renewed commitment of 10 million dollars each towards the Fund.
Welcoming the President, University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said that “a large number of students from India study at the University of Melbourne.
“Each student is an important part of the University and they contribute to a richly diverse student population at the University of Melbourne,” he said.
Professor Maskell also noted that the University of Melbourne “aims to be one of the world’s best centres for India-focused research – to build a global reputation for the quality and impact of our India research”.
The University of Melbourne’s engagement strategy with India will continue to focus on students as well as research in the coming years.
“I look forward to continuing to strengthen and develop relations between the University of Melbourne and India, and I thank His Excellency for visiting.”
The visit was facilitated by the Australia India Institute.
As part of President’s Kovind’s visit to Australia, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Australia and India to promote cooperation in the field of disability.
This paves the way for a project involving the University of Melbourne and the Department of Empowerment of People with Disability in India, to co-design a course to promote community disability inclusion.
“The project will draw on the expertise of community-based rehabilitation workers in India, and the University of Melbourne’s Disability Institute and Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences, to develop a course to train community disability inclusion workers in India,” Professor Maskell said.
Earlier the President commenced his engagements in Melbourne with a visit to Government House, where he was received by the Governor of Victoria, Ms Linda Dessau.
The Governor hosted a luncheon banquet in honour of the President.
Speaking on the occasion, the President praised Victoria’s emphasis on trade and business with India.
“Let us invest and innovate and write new codes for digital economy, and the technology script for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the President noted.
Referring to young minds and the will and the power to provide choices for a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous world, the President said it promised for “a brighter tomorrow for India-Australia partnership”.
Subsequently the Leader of the Opposition and Federal Labor Party in Australia, Hon. Bill Shorten called on President Kovind.
The two leaders also discussed the advance of India’s renewable energy programme and India’s initiative in setting up the International Solar Alliance – apart from a shared desire to enhance relationship in trade, skills development and education.
The President thanked Mr Shorten for the bipartisan support in Australia for good relations with India. The President will fly out of Australia tomorrow.
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