Bilateral relations Current Affairs - 2020

Indo-US IUSSTF to address COVID-19 challenges

The IUSSTF, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum has invited proposals from Indian and American scientists. The proposals will demonstrate value and benefits of Indo-US partnership in COVID-19 research.

Highlights

The global partnerships and collaborations are bringing together scientists and engineers from different parts of the world to find solutions for COVID-19. The IUSSTF is now encouraging such collaborations to catalyze both India and United States.

IUSSTF

The IUSSTF was established in March 2000. It was established under an agreement between India and USA. It is an autonomous organization that is jointly funded by both the governments. It promotes interaction between the governments in the field of science, engineering, innovation and technology.

Objectives of IUSSTF

The IUSSTF aims to create awareness through exchange programmes. It also encourages public-private partnerships to foster innovation.

Nodal partners

The Department of Science and Technology is the nodal agency representing India at the IUSSTF. From the US, the US department of State is to represent the country.

India-Saudi Arabia to sign Agreement on Strategic Partnership Council

PM Modi is on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia. He is visiting the country to attend the third Future Investment Initiative and to hold bilateral discussion with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. PM will sign minimum of 12 agreements during his visits in areas such as defence, civil aviation, infrastructure, non-renewable energy sector, etc.

Apart from this, PM Modi will sign a bilateral “Strategic Partnership Council” pact. India is the fourth country with which Saudi Arabia is signing the pact with. The three other countries are UK, France and China.

Strategic Partnership Council

  • The Council will include multiple sections from NITI Aayog, External Affairs Ministry and counterpart organizations from Saudi Arabia
  • The council is to be led by Mr Modi and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
  • The Council will have two parallel tracks
    • Political, Security, Culture and society headed by both countries foreign ministers
    • Economy and Investment headed by India’s Commerce and Industry minister and Saudi Arabia’s energy minister.

Significance

  • The visit gains its importance as the visit comes three months after India ended the special status of Kashmir.
  • The Council being formed will open era of cooperation across various sectors like security, Trade, investment, defence and cooperation.
  • There are over 8 million Indian diaspora in the region.