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India, Argentina Agreed for Bilateral Exchange of Young Researchers, Startups in Biotechnology & Agriculture

With the recent agreements and ongoing collaborations, India and Argentina are poised to deepen their scientific and economic partnership, fostering progress and innovation in the fields of Biotechnology, Agriculture, and beyond.

Shivam Dwivedi
India, Argentina Agreed for Bilateral Exchange of Young Researchers, Startups in Biotechnology & Agriculture (Photo Source: Pixabay)
India, Argentina Agreed for Bilateral Exchange of Young Researchers, Startups in Biotechnology & Agriculture (Photo Source: Pixabay)

In a bid to enhance scientific cooperation and foster innovation, India and Argentina have come together for a bilateral exchange of young researchers and startups, with a particular focus on the fields of Biotechnology and Agriculture. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy, and Space, and the Governor of Santa Fe province of Argentina, Omar Angel Perotti, along with a high-level delegation.

During the meeting, the two nations also decided to hold comprehensive talks involving academia, Research & Development (R&D) institutes, and industries in the fields of Science & Technology and Biotechnology. This collaboration aims to harness the collective expertise and resources of both countries to drive advancements in these crucial sectors.

Earlier, on February 7, 2023, during a meeting in New Delhi between Dr. Jitendra Singh and Daniel Filmus, Argentina's Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, a new Indo-Argentina call for joint proposals was launched. The call focused on research areas like Energy Transition and Biotechnology. A total of 82 joint proposals were received under this call, which is currently undergoing evaluation.

Perotti highlighted that Santa Fe Province, which has contributed eight joint proposals, accounts for approximately 80% of the bilateral trade between India and Argentina. The province has a robust ecosystem of R&D institutions, particularly in the fields of Biotechnology and Agricultural research, with a special emphasis on Soybean production and disease-resistant seed development.

The Indian delegation expressed keen interest in collaborating with Argentina in Geospatial technology, Quantum Computation, and Bio-Enzymes. Given India's position as home to the world's third-largest Startup ecosystem, there exists tremendous potential for joint studies and collaborations at various levels, including institutional, universities, and multilateral forums.

Notably, India and Argentina have an Inter-governmental Agreement dating back to 1985, aimed at promoting technical and scientific cooperation between the two nations. The objective of this program is to strengthen and expand relations between their scientific communities, enabling exchanges between Indian and Argentine research groups within the framework of joint scientific and technological projects.

The Indian delegation was represented by Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology (DST) & Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and Dr. N. Kalaiselvi, Director-General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). On the Argentine side, the delegation included Presidents of the two major Stock Exchanges in Santa Fe, Vice-Chancellors of three Universities in the province, and the Ambassador of Argentina to India,  Hugo Gobby.

Trade relations between India and Argentina have been flourishing, with India being the 4th largest trading partner of Argentina. In 2022, bilateral trade reached a historic peak of USD 6.4 billion, recording a notable growth rate of 12% over the previous year. The major items of India's exports to Argentina include petroleum oils, agrochemicals, yarn-fabric-made ups, organic chemicals, bulk drugs, and two-wheelers. Conversely, India's imports from Argentina primarily consist of vegetable oils (soybean and sunflower), finished leather, cereals, residual chemicals and allied products, and pulses.

With several Indian companies having invested over USD 1 billion in Argentina, and Argentina's investment in India amounting to approximately USD 120 million, both nations are actively engaged in fostering economic ties. Industries such as IT services and manufacturing have seen significant cooperation between the two countries, and sectors like Oil and Energy, Defense, and Aeronautics. These sectors have also witnessed bilateral agreements.

To further strengthen business ties, the India-Argentina Business Council (IABC), a non-profit organization comprising leading investors, exporters, and importers in Argentina, was launched on October 14, 2020. Currently, the council comprises over 30 companies and, together with India's Mission, organized the first Business Forum on March 25, 2021.

The bilateral relations extend beyond trade and business, with approximately 2,600 NRIs / PIOs (Non-Resident Indians / Persons of Indian Origin) residing in Argentina. The majority of these individuals live in the capital city of Buenos Aires, including professionals working with Indian companies and multinational corporations.

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