Science diplomacy
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This article is written by Manisha Singh, pursuing a Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from LawSikho.


In the present world of increasing worldwide competition and challenges, science and technology (S&T) plays a vital role in gaining more and more attention in international relations and policy made for foreign affairs. 

Science Diplomacy is the use of scientific alliances among various nations to address common issues and to build productive international partnerships among different nations. Science Diplomacy has become a new path to report the various formal and informal technical or research-based, scholastic or engineering based exchanges within the common field of international relations. Science Diplomacy is the sub-division of international relations and also involves interactions between intellectuals and officials of diplomacy. 

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Science Diplomacy has been recognized as a budding tool which can strengthen the relations among various nations and can address the global problems and can also exchange the resources where Science and Technology has been marked as an emerging engine of the social and economic progress which results in globalization. But this scientific diplomacy is successful only when the implementation of this is done properly and the tools promotion it is effective. 

As an emerging nation, India has a large number of scientists and diplomats with high knowledge of science and technology which can help in the development and growth of science in the nation. For enhancing the international relations and cooperation, India emphasizes on the implementation of Science & Technology as India’s Foreign Policy. 

Science & technology agreement

Science & Technology Agreements are done primarily to strengthen the scientific and technological capabilities of the nation which includes engineering of the Parties which can broaden and expand the relations between the substantial scientific and technological communities of the nations and also to encourage technological and scientific cooperation in the areas of mutual benefits of the nations. It is also done for maintaining peace and harmony between the nations. 

India has demonstrated its international capacity and commitment in its involvement in various global Science Projects which were huge such as for Nuclear Research in Geneva at European Organization, then in France for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), for the collaboration of science at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational- Wave Observatory (LIGO), India’s commitment for the promotion of the use of renewable energy and to fulfill the targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement at the International Solar Alliance. India has entered into various Science & Technology Agreements with different nations as it is influenced by modification of its international relationship, interest of the public, neighbor’s peacefulness and addressing worldwide issues and challenges. India’s Science & Technology agreement in the past years has been almost doubled. The intellectuals of India and the government, makers of the policy have analyzed and understood the importance of the Science & Technology Agreements. Still the benefit to the society of this in the long term would be dependent upon the ability of the policy to promote scientific cooperation. 

Science & technology co-operation and agreements

Global agreements to promote cooperation in scientific research and development can be bilateral, multilateral, regional, government wide or at the level of individual technical agencies. Various tools have been used to develop scientific research and development between India and other nations from informal scientist-to-scientist collaborations to cooperation between research institutions to formal agreements between implementing agencies. International collaboration, protection of the intellectual property, establishment of benefit-sharing and promoting networking is done by the establishment of the Science & Technology agreements.

Science & Technology agreement’s text covers common features such as cooperative activities and its types and ways to facilitate access to facilities and personnel. The three areas where the text vary from nation to nation are- 

  1. The preamble which is used to give the spotlight to the public’s motivations behind the agreement;
  2. Intellectual property right’s defining clause and how the parties share and exploit the IP generated;
  3. Clauses connected to the implementation plan, design and its review and monitoring by a joint Science & Technology committee.

The supreme funding agency of Government of India, i.e, Department of Science and Technology, has adopted three models to adapt international relations in science and technology areas by acquiring technology synergy, technology diplomacy and development in technology to achieve the above mentioned goals. Technology Synergy is based on the mutuality, co-funding and co-creation which uplift the parity based bilateral relationship. Science and Technology is promoted by the Technology Diplomacy and it also builds the capacity of the developing and neighboring countries. By the use of Public Private Partnership (PPP) the Technological development encourages innovation and techno- entrepreneurship.

Tools used by the Department of Science and Technology

To support the Science and Technology cooperation there are various tools used by the Department of Science and Technology, such as:

  1. Seminars, workshops, student exchange programs, student internships, exhibitions, joint workshops and many others are organized to build contracts internationally.
  2. Support is provided to the joint Research and Development (R&D) projects, advanced schools and training and advanced facilities access and participation in the Mega science projects.
  3. Facilitation and promotion by supporting joint Research and Development projects, virtual and multi-institutional Research and Development Projects and also promoting various pre-commercial Research and Development projects and academic innovations.

For providing technological solutions through institutional and worldwide alliances via competitive process, Government of India has instituted a unique institution namely Global Innovation Technology Alliance (GITA) under section 25 of the Company Act between the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Technology Development Board (TDB). 

India has stationed its capabilities in space, informatics and telecommunications and also in health in Africa and South Asia. Science and Technology and India’s multilateral co-operation has also expanded over years. 

Bi-lateral and multilateral cooperation in science and technology

The implementation of Science and Technology Agreements between India and other countries and the responsibility to negotiate between the countries is given to the Ministry of Science & Technology in the consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Indian Missions Abroad, counselors of the Science and Technology experts, scientific stakeholders, academic and technological institutions, various concerned governmental agencies and different industry associated in India.

India has bilateral Science and Technology agreements with 83 nations at present including active cooperation with 44 countries.

Role of science and technology agreements

Bilateral cooperation with the other countries provides means and opportunity to approach the supplementary knowledge and skills and the high-end resources in working with the other nations in the new areas such as artificial intelligence, Nanotechnology, etc. Science and Technology agreement also helps in avoiding the duplication of efforts. Science and Technology agreements which are mutually beneficial gives the outcome in faster advancement in the common goals at a minimum cost and also provide an optimistic rationale for the maintenance of proper cordial diplomatic relations even at the time of disagreements on the other issues and topics.

In 2005, by signing the agreement with the United States, India remained strong also after signing the Science and Technology Agreement. For reviewing the implementation of the agreement, two meetings were held. These meetings have also become a good platform to discuss the problems related to the cooperating between the countries. 

Each party who is signing the agreement shall encourage and with the laws and regulations, the exchange of material and equipment considered necessary to carry out science and technology cooperation. 

Science diplomacy in public interest

With the help of the United States Rockefeller Foundation, India put an end to the large scale deaths due to starvation which started in the country by introducing Green Revolution in India which was based on the use of the high-yielding varieties of rice, wheat and the grains which was grown in Mexico and Philippines. The other victorious examples of science diplomacy are space and vaccine diplomacy which helped India in many ways. Vaccine diplomacy helped in eradicating deadly diseases like polio, smallpox and many other diseases which were very dangerous by developing vaccines for these diseases. 


Signing Memorandum of Understanding and Science and Technology Agreements enhances the opportunity to make wide known the capabilities, achievements, education system which gives a message to the people of the country and the other nations that efforts are taken to grow relations among the nations and also for the economy which is based on economy. It is very helpful for a country like India which is still a developing country. With the cooperation with public diplomacy and Science and Technology Agreements India will achieve its foreign policy objectives.

The purpose of signing a Science and Technology Agreement is to strengthen scientific and technological capabilities which also include engineering of the nations who are signing the agreement and also to broaden and expand their relations among the extensive scientific and technological communities of both the nations. It also promotes scientific and technological cooperation in the area where both the countries are benefited. The main objective behind this agreement is to provide opportunities to the exchange of ideas, information, skills and technologies for peaceful purposes and also to collaborate on scientific and technological attempts to achieve goals which are mutual between both the nations.


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