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U.S.-India Innovation Cooperation

Interviewee: Manjeet Kripalani, Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow 2006-2007, CFR
Interviewer: Jayshree Bajoria, Staff Writer, CFR.org
November 23, 2009

India has emerged as a top global innovator for high-tech products and services. The Obama administration has identified the area of science, technology, and innovation as one of five key pillars of strategic cooperation with India. In July, during her visit to New Delhi, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a deal for a $30 million science and technology endowment to be used for joint research and development, innovation, and commercialization.

Manjeet Kripalani, founder and executive director of the Mumbai-based foreign policy think tank the Gateway House: The Indian Council on Global Relations, says that although science is the area of "most natural cooperation between the United States and India," implementation remains a challenge. She argues the Indian government must deregulate its scientific institutions and that the United States and India must stress outcomes and timelines for their innovation deals. She also recommends that India invest more in physical infrastructure.

Kripalani, former Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, also acknowledges the significant role technology has played in poverty alleviation in India. "India is probably the place in the world where, for the first time, high-tech was not used for [people with] high income but for the masses." But she says while non-governmental institutions have made great progress in innovation, the government has failed to commercialize its innovation. She says India must learn from the United States in this regard: "The United States is a shining example of how the government does a lot of research for its own good and puts it out in the public realm."

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