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Remarks of U.S Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice with his Excellency Kapil Sibal, Minister of Science and Technology of India


Washington, DC
October 17, 2005

UNDER SECRETARY DOBRIANSKY: Welcome to the State Department. I'm Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs. It's a pleasure to welcome Minister Sibal, Ambassador Singh and other members of the Indian delegation to the signing of this important agreement. Welcome also to the U.S. delegation. You have our heartfelt gratitude for your hard work in completing this agreement. I believe we will look back at this day as yet another milestone in yet a very expanding relationship between our two great democracies.

Significantly, this agreement will advance the status of intellectual property rights, which is crucial to the growing knowledge-based economies of both of our countries. It will also facilitate more exchanges between scientists and technology workers, enabling us to learn from one and other. I already strong bond will even grow closer.

We are joined today by Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Secretary Rice has been an ardent supporter of the goals and objectives behind this treaty, namely, transformational diplomacy. The diplomatic developments that advance and transform relationships in ways that not only benefit our own people in our respective countries, but also across the globe, is the wave of the future.

I'd like now to invite Secretary Rice to come forward to say a few words. Secretary Rice.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Paula, and thank you for your leadership in this area. Thank you also to the delegation. I'm pleased to be here today with His Excellency Sibal and the Minister of Science and Technology to sign the India- U.S. Science and Technology Agreement, a landmark agreement that will open the door to a wide range of scientific and technical cooperation between our two great democracies.

Welcome to the State Department, Mr. Minister, Mr. Ambassador, your Excellency, thank you for being here.

We thank you for the dedicated and effective efforts that you put into the negotiations of this agreement. Your support has been key throughout the entire process, and without your personal involvement, I can tell you quite -- we would not be here today. And let me also take this occasion on behalf of the American people, to express our condolences to you, Mr. Minister, and to the people of India, for the suffering and devastation caused by the recent earthquake. Just as you extended your hearts and help to us after Hurricane Katrina, India has our thoughts, prayers and support as you cope with this catastrophe.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Science and Technology Agreement that we are about to sign is another dramatic illustration of the fast growing bilateral relationship we are building between the United States and India. This agreement will strengthen the science and technology capabilities of both the United States and India, expand relations between our extensive scientific and technological communities and promote technological and scientific cooperation in areas of mutual benefit.

This agreement establishes for the first time the intellectual property rights protocols and other provisions necessary to conduct active collaborative research. The agreement also complements the activities of a successful Indo-U.S. science and technology forum that our countries created in the year 2000. In addition to expanding the frontiers of knowledge, the agreement will lead to collaborations that will improve that will improve the lives of our citizens and benefit both our economies.

The United States and India will have greater opportunities and incentives to deepen and accelerate our long-standing scientific collaboration in a variety of fields, including basic sciences, space, energy, nanotechnology, health and information technology. In all of these areas, the United States and the international community already have benefited greatly from the expertise of the Indian scientific community.

As President Bush and Prime Minister Singh declared during their meeting in July, "Our two countries are resolved to transforming our bilateral relationship and to establishing a global partnership." In fact later this week, Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns will be traveling to India to further our historic partnerships, to promote democratic values, combat terrorism, support economic growth, expand bilateral activities and commerce and achieve peace and stability in the region and beyond.

To these active bilateral and global agendas, we are proud today to be adding increasing collaboration in science and technology. Mr. Minister again, once again, thank you for coming and for your valued contributions to this growing partnership between the United States and India.


UNDER SECRETARY DOBRIANSKY: Minister Sibal, I'd like to invite you to make some remarks.

MINISTER SIBAL: Thank you very much. First of all, I think this indeed is a very historic occasion. It is indeed a milestone, as you mentioned, 15 long years after negotiations, we have now, pending this agreement, which I think is going to take forward, the collaborations between the two countries to new levels.

It was long ago, I think, in 1492 when Christopher Columbus started on his journey to discover India and landed in the Americas. (Laughter.) And unfortunately, since 1492 to the beginning of the new millennium, the United States hasn't taken really major steps to discover what really India is. And I think that it does credit to the two countries that at the beginning of this millennium, that process of discovery really started, despite Nehru's book on the discovery of India, which he wrote.

And I think that this discovery is bringing the two countries together in a manner never before seen in the history of the world. We have the oldest democracy in the world with the largest democracy in the world coming together. And I think that the umbrella of science and technology agreement that we are signing today is going to allow us to collaborate in areas that are going to serve humanity.

I think, recently, and thank you very much for condoling with us, both of the time of the tsunami on 26th of December as well as the recent earthquake, which has devastated our regions. Our hearts go out to the people of the United States with the devastation caused by Katrina and Rita. And I think this is an indication that nature is giving to us that it's time for all of us to collaborate.

And if I look at this agreement, the areas we wish to collaborate on are the areas of life sciences, where a lot of diseases of the world, diseases of the poor are going to devastate large populations unless we discover new vaccines; areas of natural disasters; areas in the field of energy. These are the new challenges of the new millennium and I think this umbrella agreement allows us to meet those challenges together. And what better way to do it than with two countries, which have such a strong history and such a strong culture.

And, Madame Secretary, I'm particularly delighted because I think that you have a special bond with India, which you may not have realized. And that bond is that you were confirmed on the 26th January 2005, which is our Republic Day. (Laughter.) And that's very special to us. And I also heard somewhere that you had a desire to become the Commissioner of the National Football League. (Laughter.) Well, I have to tell you that that only is symptomatic of your competitive spirit. Of course, if I'd continued to the live in the United States, and I lived here for four years, I would've rooted for the New York Jets -- (laughter) -- because I stayed in New York City for several years and practiced law there.

But coming back to this relationship, I think this is really a great leap forward and I think that the world is going to see how the international community and two great nations can collaborate with each other and share common values. And I end by reiterating what you had said at the time of your confirmation hearings, you said, "We must use American diplomacy to help create a balance of power in the world that favors freedom and the time for diplomacy is now." We share that vision. We want to partner with you in that enterprise. And I think that this agreement is going to build a foundation of a partnership when Indo-U.S. relations will no longer, as Bob Blackwood used to say, as flat as a chapatti, but would be the size of a family-sized American hamburger. (Laughter.)

Thank you very much and all the best.