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Opening Remarks by High Commissioner Mr. Ashok Kumar for...
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Opening Remarks by the High Commissioner Mr. Ashok Kumar for Webinar on Cooperation in the Field of Science and Technolgoy between India and Zambia on National Science Day

(28th February, 2022)

 

H.E. Mr. Felix C Mutati, Minister of Technology & Science, Republic of Zambia

Dr. Sanjeev Varshney, Adviser & Head- International Cooperation, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India

Mr. Ravi Udaya Bhaskar, Director General, Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India

Mr. Albert Halwampa, Acting Director General of Zambia Development Authority

Mr. Siyanga Makomani, Acting Director General of Zambia Medicine Regulatory Authority

Prof. Luke Evuta Mumba, Vice Chancellor of the University of Zambia,

Mr. Karun Gaur, Vice President, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, representing CII,

Mrs. Nalukena Mutti Vantra, Vice President (Services) of the Lusaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry,

Mr. Amrut Naik, President & Head-Emerging Markets Business, Zydus Cadila, India representing FICCI,

and

Mr. Himanshu Patel, Director, Yash Life Sciences, Zambia

Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning and Namaskar,

  1. It is my immense pleasure to welcome you to today’s Webinar to celebrate the National Science Day of India in collaboration with Ministry of Technology & Science of the Republic of Zambia for Exploring Cooperation in the Field of Science & Technology between India and Zambia.
  2. Today, the 28th of February is celebrated as National Science Day in India commemorating the birth anniversary of one of India’s greatest scientists Dr. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for his discovery of a hitherto unknown characteristic of light which later came to be named after him as the Raman Effect. Dr. C.V. Raman was the first Asian to receive the Nobel Prize in any branch of Science. The achievement of Dr. C.V. Raman stretches beyond the boundaries of science to reignite in the people of India a scientific temper, which is the key to growth and development.
  3. Ever since independence, India has remained committed to scientific and technological endeavours. Establishment of higher centres of learning like the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technologies, the Indian Institute of Science to name a few, bears testimony to our committed and determined effort to utilise Science and Technology in National Development. While the journey began with small steps, it took bigger strides to establish nuclear power plants, to develop space technology and to make major advancements in engineering & medical science and many landmark achievements in research and development. To take forward our initiative to collaborate with other countries, the Government of India has also set up Science and Technology Wings set up in many of our Diplomatic Missions in the world.
  4. Science and technology finds application in every sphere of our lives. Advancements in science and technology has played a vital role in the development of countries. India is perhaps a unique country which has try to strike a balance between delving into our inner self with the age old practice of Yoga and meditation simultaneously making forays in the field of outer space.
  5. The New Dawn Government led by H.E. Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, the President of Zambia  has established a new Ministry, the Ministry of Technolgoy and Science. We are observing that the new Ministry of Technolgoy and Science is making efforts towards development of science and technology.  I would leave details of this aspect for the Hon’ble Minister of Technolgoy and Science Mr. Felix Mutati for his key note address. However, I would like to reiterate the support of Government of India for scientific or technological initiatives in which the Government of Zambia considers India to be an ideal partner.
  6. Our bilateral relations with Zambia are historic and predates Zambia’s independence in 1964. The founding father & first President of Zambia, Late Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda’s numerous visits to India and his interaction with leading Indian leaders of the day, laid the strong foundation to our bilateral relations, in the spirit of South-South cooperation.
  7. It is a matter of pride for us that over the past 57 years, our warm and friendly bilateral relations have evolved and strengthened. I am especially happy to note that both our countries are working together in many areas, for the mutual benefit and well-being of our people. I assure you that India will continue to work closely with Zambia for the benefit of people of both countries.
  8. In recent years, State visits of Hon’ble Rashtrapati ji, Shri Ramnath Kovind, to Zambia in April 2018 and by former President of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to India in August 2019, infused a new energy and vitality to ourbilateral relations. I am happy to inform that a total of eleven MoUs were signed during the two state level visits and both sides are working to implement the MoUs.
  9. Our bilateral relations in trade & commerce are also growing and diversifying. Pharmaceutical products continue to be the dominant sector in India’s bilateral trade with Zambia. India is the highest exporter of pharmaceutical products to Zambia with a market share of over 40%. This reflects the high level of confidence and trust reposed by the people and the Government of Zambia on the pharmaceutical products of India.
  10. India-Zambia cooperation in the Health Sector is also reflected in the establishment of 650 prefabricated Health Posts in Zambia and other related developments. India remains committed to partner with Zambia for more such development projects. India has also given various life saving medicines of worth US$ 2 million to Zambia.
  11. In the field of bio-tech industry. India is among the top 12 destinations world wide. The bio-tech industry comprises of more than 2700 bio-tech start-ups and more than 2500 companies. India has 655 FDA approved manufacturing plants. India is also the world’s third largest producer of recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine and second largest producer of BT cotton. The bio-tech industry had reached to USD 63 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 150 billion by 2025. Government of India has given various incentives for the growth of bio-tech industry, it allows 100% FDI under the automatic route for greenfield projects for pharmaceutical and manufacturing of medical devices. There are nine bio-tech parks and sixty bio-incubators supported by Bio-technolgy Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). India has the advantage of skilled human capital and it has a large resorvoir of scientists and engineers. In the Union Budget of 2021-22, a provision of about USD 229 million was kept for research and development in bio-tech.
  12. While the whole world is still battling Covid-19 pandemic, I find a silver lining in these challenging days which is reflected in the unprecedented pace at which vaccines have been developed to control the pandemic and to reduce its fatal effects. It is the constant research and development in the bio-technology field that has made it possible. India has also developed its high efficacy indigenous vaccine Covaxin by Bharat Biotech Ltd, a Public Sector Enterprise. India’s Serum Institue is also mass manufacturing Covishield Vaccine (Astrazeneca). This is the largest vaccine manufacturing facility. Both these vaccines are approved by WHO for emergency use. These vaccines are now exported to many countries. India has also given vaccine support under its Vaccine Maitry programme to many countries of the world as India firmly believes in ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam- the whole world is one family.
  13. Indian bio-technology industry is built on entrepreneruship, innovation, nurturing domestic talent and demonstrating value based care. India has noticed that the New Dawn Government of Zambia led by H.E. Mr. Hakainde Hichilema the President of the Republic putting emphasis on healthcare sector and science & technology. The Indian pharmaceutical and bio-technology sector has attended maturity and I view that now India is placed in a position to extend support to Zambia in the pharmaceutical and bio-technology areas, which would strengthen  cooperation between the Indian and Zambian companies and institutions in pharmaceutical and bio-technology areas. The Webinar aims to  bring the industry, related institutions and university to share their views and experiences on this important topic of cooperation in research, innovation and diversification of pharmaceutical and bio-technology products. Today’s delibrations will also open prospects for joint research and manufacturing of pharmaceutical and biotechnology products by Indian and  Zambian companies taking advantage of Zambia’s strategic location in Southern Africa which  offers in big market in SADC and COMESA regions.
  14. It is an honour for us that Hon’ble Minister of Technolgoy and Science Mr. Felix Mutati is our Guest of Honour and would deliver the Key-note address. I again thank all the speakers and the participants for their support in organising this webinar.

Thank you, very much.

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