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Science diplomacy: bridge the world through science
Renowned scientist Dr G Thyagarajan brought to life the submerged history of the ‘Daughter of Oceans’ Sagar Kanya, at the 50th Foundation Day of SERC

Dr G Thyagarajan (GT) as a science diplomat utilised the Sagar Kanya, the oceanographic research vessel, to unravel the treasures of major seas in different parts of the world. He presented a lecture at the  Structural Engineering Research Centre, Chennai on scientific collaboration between the Caribbean countries and India.

The economies of Caribbean nations were tied to tourism and the export of fruits and spices. Later, when they were subjected to international market fluctuations, GT suggested them to tap their marine resource potential. As per UN Convention on the Law of Sea, 200 nautical miles of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are allocated for every nation.

The million-dollar Caribbean Oceanographic Resources Exploration (CORE) project was the result of science diplomacy, said GT. It was a combination of scientific expertise extended by the Indian government and financed by the Commonwealth Science Council (CSC). This scientific collaboration conferred economic benefits to the 13 Caribbean member countries. The cruise survey revealed information on the valuable living and non-living resources. It also provided training for the Caribbean scientists to implement the techniques in their own country.

CORE resulted in immediate economic benefits and concrete relationship between India and the Caribbean countries. With her expertise in science, India should focus on small islands with untapped resources and help them in their development, suggested GT. Like South-South assistance with Sagar Kanya, Indian government must explore scientific ideas to build concrete international relationships. For this purpose, it is necessary to make science diplomacy as a subtle paradigm of India’s new foreign policy, suggested GT.

 

Scope for diplomacy

India has the 3rd largest scientific and technical manpower in the world. About 162 universities award 4000 doctorates and 35,000 post graduate degrees every year. Though we have a robust science base, the march to a science-based economy is still a long way off.

The beauty of science diplomacy is universality, transparent, seamless empowerment and building mutual interests and friendships. India possesses world-class expertise and it will be to India’s credit to share this knowledge and skills with the nations who are in need of it, said GT.

In his welcome address SERC Director Nagesh R Iyer listed the achievements of visionaries Prof G S Ramaswamy and Dr. M Ramaiah in the field of structural engineering. He also portrayed the efforts of his teams in introducing new products and applications, which are globally competitive. 

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