Young thinkers are greatest promise for India, America: US envoy

Bengaluru, Nov 4 (IANS) The greatest promise in the coming together of the people of the US and India is both the country’s young thinkers, US envoy to India Richard R. Verma, said here on Wednesday.

“I have marvelled at the energy and brilliance of the minds I have encountered, and have been continually amazed at the creativity and commitment to service among the young Indians I have met,” he said at the Indian Institute of Management.

He said India was regarded as home to some of the most ground breaking young minds on the planet.

“Imagine the vast promise of our young people collaborating, in real time, between Pune and Houston, Srinagar and Miami. The possibilities are limitless.”

Speaking on the importance of governments encouraging innovation together, he said: “Back in 2009, before innovation and start ups became the buzzwords that they are today, our governments established the US-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund.”

The US-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund partners with India’s Department of Science and Technology to fund ideas and proposals with up to Rs.2.5 crore each every year.

“Until now, the fund backed 18 proposals on technologies to remove toxic arsenic from ground water in West Bengal and Bihar, solar electric tractor, a low-cost portable auto-refractor to prescribe corrective eyeglasses in areas without eye doctors; a device to resuscitate newborn babies who can’t breathe and seed treatments to improve stress tolerance in crops,” he said.

The ambassador said the US and India would launch a private sector-led Innovation Forum to ignite and scale innovation and encourage entrepreneurship in 2016.

“Rather than dismissing Indian traditions as incompatible with western medicine, American scientists and pharmaceutical companies are working with Indian partners on “bioprospecting” – examining traditional medicine as a source of new drug discovery.”

The US Department of Health and Human Services is also looking at making traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy to be more widely available in the US.

Recalling innovation ties between the US and Bengaluru, Verma mentioned people like Infosys co-founder N. Narayana Murthy, Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia, Indian-American venture capitalist Gururaj Deshpande and first Indian member of the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame Kumar Malavalli.

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