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India, France join hands for greater cooperation in science and technology

NEW DELHI: India and France today signed a host of agreements for cooperation in the fields of science and technology, health and education and announced various programmes for increasing bilateral collaboration in research and design. 

The Union Science and 
Technology Ministry today said its Technology Development Board had entered into an agreement with BPI, France, to organise funding for technology development projects on which the two countries could work together. 

Similarly, CEFIPRA, which is the Indo-French Centre for Promotion of Advance Research, has embarked on an ambitious programme to bring together clusters from France and India and enhance industry-industry-academia linkages with the underlying theme of innovation. 

"Two such clusters, one linking Bangalore and Paris on Embedded Systems for Aerospace Applications, and the second, linking automobile clusters in Chennai and Lyon have already been established," Science and Technology Minister S 
Jaipal Reddy said at the India-France Technology Summit today. 

The minister said that while Indians have proved to be successful in the areas of IT, chemical and biotechnology, France had wider experience in applied research and the ability to convert R&D findings into commercial technologies. 

"All these sectors have tremendous potential for developing gainful bilateral partnerships through involvement of industry, enterprises and academia," the minister said. 

"Last year, India's exports to France rose by 12 per cent and French exports to India rose by 8 per cent. It is not surprising that the trade relationship is predominantly underpinned by knowledge-based industries like automobiles, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, etc.," the minister said. 

The MoUs signed and the programmes announced altogether numbered 18, including one between CEFIPRA and 
Saint Gobain Research India for 'Habitat in Hot and Humid Climate' research.