India and Netherlands need to work together to address climate change, terrorismand depletion of natural resources: Dr Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: Inaugurating the 25th edition of DST-CII India Netherlands Technology Summit at New Delhi today by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, expressed their pleasure at the successful collaboration in Science & Technology between the two countries.

Addressing the inaugural session, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands said that India and Netherlands complement each other in terms of technology and taken together, they make a great team. He stated that in the Netherlands experience, India was a partner you could trust and both could work together in areas such as Agriculture and Food Security, Water management and Climate Change. Another area where he felt that the two countries could share their experiences and approach was in terms of Public Private Partnerships.

Her MajestyQueen Maxima of Netherlands also graced the occasion with her presence at the Inaugural session of the Summit.

Speaking at the Inaugural session, Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted the shared heritage and common beliefs between both countries that has led to further intensify cooperation and build a sound bilateral relationship. He said “Countries such as ours need to combine forces to seek sustainable answers to pressing global issues. These include poverty, hunger, job creation, energy security, human rights, gender inequality. At the same time we need to work together on climate change, terrorism, and depletion of natural resources”.

Recalling the centuries old partnership between India and Netherlands, the Minister stated that traditional items of trade between them had given way to more high technology ones. He added that India and the Netherlands were celebrating 10 years of cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation space, especially in areas such as Urban Water Management, Smart Energy Grids, and anti-microbial resistance, among others. He stated that Netherlands could help India in its quest to double farmers’ income by improving water technology in the farm sector.

TheMinister also emphasized upon the strong interests that both India and the Netherlands have in each other’s economies. He said that Netherlands is India’s 28th largest trading partner globally and 6th largest trading partner from the European Union. Dr. Harsh Vardhan further added that the country has been the gateway for over 20% of all of India’s exports to the European Union. Between 2000 and 2017, the Netherlands invested US Dollars 24.31 billion in India, ranking amongst the top 5 investors in the country. The Minister further informed that India too was amongst the top-5 investors in Netherlands.

Additionally, the Minister informed that India has nurtured over 40,000 startups over the last 5 years, of which about 31 have achieved the Unicorn status. Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated “We have initiated programs like Start-Up India and today we are number 3 in the world in terms of number of start-ups. We wish to nurture this culture further. We are encouraging new solutions based on technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence”.

Ms. Ineke Dezentje Hamming, VP, Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers VNO-NCW in her address noted that the two countries could work together on areas such as dredging, agri and food processing and start-ups among others. She stated that entrepreneurship and technology have no borders and Netherlands was ready to join India in its quest for development.

Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST, stated that India has been using technology to try and achieve its aspirational goals. He was of the view that the days of leap-frogging were long gone and the time was now right to “pole-vault” in the domain of technology and innovation. In this context, he felt that the Netherlands could help India and some key areas of cooperation could include affordable medical science, Big Data, Internet of Things, Water and Food Processing among others.

Shri Vikram Kirloskar, President, CII stated that India and the Netherlands have entered into several meaningful collaborations such as the cleaning of the Ganga River and cleaning of the Barapullah drain in Delhi and added that both countries had much to gain in collaborating on mutual projects such as these.

A booklet titled “Science, Technology and Innovation Partnership” was also released by Ms. Mona Keijzer, Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

The 2 day Summit provides a high profile and wide-rangingplatform for businesses, knowledge institutions and government to forge partnership andboost innovation, investment and trade. ‘NEXUS’ is the central theme of the summit, discussing how to co-create on pioneering innovative solutions for global challenges relatedto water, food and good health for all.

Among the many themes during the Summit, the core focus will be on Cross-cutting Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), NEXUS of Water-Agriculture-Health,Entrepreneurship, Enabling Technologies, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Cybersecurity, Design Thinking, Education, Geo Data & Space.