A high-level delegation from Colombia led by H.E. Marta Lucia Ramirez de Rincón, Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, visited the Department of Biotechnology on 1st October, 2021; for a meeting with Indian delegation led by Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Department of Science & Technology (DST). Dr. Fernando Ruiz Gomez, the Minister of Health and Social Protection of Republic of Colombia; Dr. Sergio Cristancho the Vice Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of the republic of Colombia; H.E. Mariana Pacheco Montes, the Ambassador of Colombia to India; other important dignitaries, accompanied the Colombian Vice-President.
H.E. Marta Lucia Ramirez de Rincón, Vice-President of Colombia appreciated the efforts of India in building a robust and enabling ecosystem for biotechnology. She remarked that Health and Biotechnology sectors are major priority areas of shared interest, and expressed hope for working together towards Indo-Colombian Public Private Partnerships for building a sustainable biotechnology ecosystem. Dr. Fernando Ruiz Gomez, Minister of Health and Social Protection, Republic of Colombia, mentioned that India, is renowned as a global vaccine manufacturing hub and expressed willingness for cooperation in the areas of vaccines, biosimilars and medical devices.
While appreciating the accomplishments of India over the past few decades in the S&T sector, Dr. Sergio Cristancho, Vice Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Republic of Colombia, said that they hope to replicate Indian models of knowledge generation and innovation and look forward to developing sustainable collaborative initiatives.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT and DST, said that India and Colombia share a legacy of more than four decades of diplomatic relations encompassing political, commercial and cultural fields. Several agreements were executed between India and Colombia over the years concerning areas such as defence cooperation, trade promotion, cooperation in space science, IT, tourism, etc. She hoped that through this visit, the bilateral partnership, could be taken to the next level in in areas of mutual scientific interest. Remarking that biotechnology is one of the most emerging sectors and that the Indian Biotechnology industry is aimed at reaching a US$150 Billion Bio-economy by 2025, Dr. Swarup expressed hope of working together in achieving the target.
Earlier during the meeting, an overview of the spectrum of activities supported by DST and DBT in the life sciences sector; the efforts by BIRAC in nurturing the biotechnology start-up and innovation ecosystem; was provided during the meeting. There was a mutual exchange of views on possible areas of scientific cooperation in the biotechnology sector. To formalise the cooperation, a Letter of Intent is proposed to be executed between the Ministry of Science and Technology on the Indian side and Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation on the Colombian side.
Mr Sanjiv Ranjan, the Ambassador of India to Colombia, senior officials from Ministry of External Affairs, Department of Science & Technology, Department of Biotechnology and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), were present on the occasion.