Posted by- Neelam Mathews
July 11, 2011
Indian and US companies will be increasingly looking at innovative models to harness opportunities in aviation sector in aircraft and aircraft components, air traffic management, maintenance, repair and overhaul, aviation safety, security and capacity building, said Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao at the eighth meeting of the India-US High Technology Co-operation Group (HTCG) co-organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the US-India Business Council (USIBC).
Speaking on the occasion, US Under-Secretary of Industry, Department of Commerce, Eric Hirschhorn, said that there was a lot of interest on the issue of dual use technology even though a miniscule percentage - 1%-of US exports came under that category. Even in that, 99 percent of the applications of US companies for licences to export dual use items to India had been cleared, he said. This year many Indian entities have also been removed from the Entity List which is set to spur high-technology trade between the two countries.
Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia gave a broad overview of the role of advanced technology and innovation in the country’s development plans. Foreign direct investment (FDI), he said, was the most stable form of long-term capital inflow and it was needed especially in high-technology areas. Development of infrastructure will be a high priority for the government in the next five years, he stressed.
Hirschhorn said in the past nine years since HTCG was set up in 2002, defense and strategic trade between India and the US had gone up to $8 billion now.
Rao emphasized that private sector would increasingly become an important player in defense production. “While the focus has been on conventional trade and market access, we must now focus equally on promoting co-operation in research and development (R&D), design, commercialization and production,” she said.
Addressing the inaugural session of the meeting, Director General of CII, Chandrajit Banerjee, said that four key areas of focus for the group would be intellectual property rights (IPR) related issues, R&D, capacity building and awareness and outreach. He called for setting up of an Indo-US Industrial R&D Fund--on the lines of Indo-US Science & Technology Endowment Fund--to spread awareness about investment in R&D.
President of USIBC, Ron Somers said public-private partnerships were a concept emerging out of the initiatives of groups such as HTCG, he said. He exhorted Indian companies to identify areas of co-operation in nano-technology, bio-technology and homeland security so that specific targets could be set.