S&T ministers of India, Brazil discuss collaborations in COVID-19 vaccine, AI among other areas

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New Delhi, Feb 25 (PTI) Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan met his Brazilian counterpart Marcos Cesar Pontes and discussed wide ranging scientific collaborations, including in the areas of health, drugs, and vaccine for COVID-19, a statement said on Thursday.

During the meeting, which took place on Wednesday, discussions also took place on a wide range of scientific and technical issues, and possible bilateral and multilateral collaborations such as BRICS, it added.

'The deliberations focused around India-Brazil collaboration in thematic areas such as health, drugs, and vaccine for COVID-19; medicines and vaccines, biotechnology, energy, nanotechnology, ICT, artificial intelligence (AI), cyber security; monitoring of biomes and agriculture areas, oceans, water quality, air quality and atmospheric pollution by satellite; development of earth system modelling for weather forecasting and climate change,' the statement said.

Vardhan informed his counterpart that a series of scientific events have been planned, which will be steered and coordinated by India as chair of BRICS in 2021.

India is keen to collaborate with Brazil in key areas such as health, earth, ocean, and atmospheric sciences, weather forecasting, climate change, renewable energy, low carbon technologies, agriculture, cyber-physical systems, artificial intelligence (AI), environment (water, air pollution), circular economy, space, nanotechnology, innovation and entrepreneurship, the statement said.

Vardhan emphasised that mobility of researchers is key to success of any collaboration.

Project-based mobility of researchers and students needs to be increased to build long-term strategic collaboration and networking among the scientists and research organisation of both sides, he stressed.

Vardhan said under 'Vaccine Maitree' mechanism proposed for making available safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines at affordable prices to the highest risk populations, India is committed to provide supplies of vaccines to partnering nations.

Last month, Brazil received two million doses of coronavirus vaccine from India.

Pontes said Brazil was keen to collaborate on areas like weather forecasting, climate change, space sciences, and scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators from the two sides could think and work together, receive technical help from each other to prepare for the future and also tackle situations like the recent pandemic. PTI PR IJT