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Indian Science and Technology Minister Visits UC San Diego for High-Tech Talks with Calit2

U.S.-India Summit on Education, Research & Technology Set for May 31

San Diego, CA, May 30, 2006 -- The Honorable Kapil Sibal, India's Minister of Science & Technology and Ocean Development, arrived in San Diego, Calif., yesterday to promote collaboration in science and technology among American and Indian universities, corporations, government and private funding agencies. Sibal's visit will be hosted by the University of California, San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and will include visits to world-class San Diego organizations including QUALCOMM Inc., General Atomics and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

President Kalam
His Excellency APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India,
addresses the U.S.-India Summit at Calit2 via
optical fiber from New Delhi to San Diego.
[Photo by Barbara Haynor]

The main focus of the Indian cabinet minister's visit is the U.S.-India Summit on Education, Research & Technology, scheduled for May 31 and organized by Calit2 at UCSD. To open the summit, His Excellency APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India, will deliver a keynote speech from New Delhi. President Kalam's remarks will be transmitted in high-definition video over an ad hoc optical-fiber network linking the UCSD campus to the presidential palace in the Indian capital.

"We have had the great honor to meet with President Kalam on several occasions over the past six months while preparing for the summit," said Jacobs School electrical and computer engineering professor Ramesh Rao, the event's organizer and director of the UCSD Division of Calit2. "As an aerospace engineer by training and a founder of India's space program, President Kalam has a rare grasp of the important issues in science and technology, and he can speak eloquently about how to harness technology for the benefit of society, not just in India and the U.S., but throughout the world."

"It is our great pleasure to welcome Minister Sibal and many other Indian dignitaries who have underscored the importance of this meeting by traveling a long distance to get here," said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, who is co-hosting the summit. "As a world-class university, UCSD is committed to international education and research collaborations that will help San Diego and California remain at the forefront of technological innovation, and the phenomenal success of India in high-tech markets makes it critical that we make India a primary area of engagement."

U.S.-India Summit

                   LIVE WEBCAST      
      The UCSD Division of Calit2 will
    webcast all the proceedings of the
         U.S.-India Summit. To watch
    the streaming video, from 8:30 a.m.
        to 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, 
          click here
or on logo above.
               [Real player required]

Over two dozen speakers -- half from India, half from the U.S. -- are scheduled to address an invitation-only audience of several hundred executives, government officials, faculty, students and other researchers. Sessions will focus on topics ranging from the role universities can play in encouraging scientific innovation across national boundaries, to technical sessions focusing on wireless communications, life sciences, nanotechnology, and intelligent automotive and transportation systems.

The roster of Indian speakers arriving in San Diego for the meetings includes outgoing Secretary of Science and Technology V.S. Ramamurthy; Sam Pitroda, Chairman of India's National Knowledge Commission; Indian Institute of Technology-Madras Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala; Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research; Technology Information Forecasting & Assessment Council Executive Director Anand Patwardhan; and Arabinda Mitra, Executive Director of the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, among others.

"We hope that the summit will provide an impetus for new research and educational ventures that engage Indian institutions and their counterparts in the United States," said Mitra, whose organization is co-convening the summit. "The Forum was established by the two countries in 2000 to facilitate and promote interaction in science, technology and other areas, so this summit represents another major step in a long-term engagement that is in the mutual interest of our two countries."

The summit will be co-chaired by QUALCOMM Chief Executive Officer Paul E. Jacobs, and UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering Dean Frieder Seible. Other speakers on the agenda include University of California President Robert C. Dynes; former Nortel Chairman of the Board William Owens; CONNECT President Duane Roth; Kathryn Sullivan, Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation's Office of International Science and Technology; Gretchen Kalonji, UC's Director of International Strategy Development; among others.

Kapil Sibal
The Hon. Kapil Sibal
Union Minister of Science & Technology
and Ocean Development
Government of India
The May 31 event stems from an initiative undertaken by educational institutions in India and the U.S. since the successful completion of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership agreement between the two countries in July 2005. That same month, representatives from UC and four other universities -- Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western, and State University of New York at Buffalo -- met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Washington, D.C. and signed a memorandum of understanding to support a satellite-delivered engineering education initiative with the Indian Department of Science and Technology, Indian Space Research Organization, and Amrita University. Corporate support for the effort came from QUALCOMM Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Cadence Design Systems, Inc.

Continued dialogue resulted in an expansion of the universities involved on both the Indian and American sides, and an increase in the scope of the program to include research. In December 2005, a formal signing ceremony took place in New Delhi to welcome 15 new U.S. members to the Indo-U.S. Inter-University Collaborative Network in Higher Education and Research.

In March 2006, UC signed its own memorandum of understanding with the Government of India to promote joint research projects that leverage synergies between UC researchers, California technology firms and counterparts in India.

"The U.S.-India Summit on Education, Research & Technology is the next step in a process of broadening areas of engagement among science and technology institutions in the world's two most populous democracies," said summit co-chair Seible. "We want to enable joint education and research programs that will groom the next generation of researchers for corporations, government labs and universities in both countries."

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