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‘World looking to India to provide solutions to planet's problems'

Staff Reporter
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Honour: Paul Dhinakaran (left), Chancellor, conferring the degree of ‘honoris causa' in science to W. Selvamurthy, Distinguished Scientist and Chief Controller, Research and Development, Defence Research and Development Organisation, during the convocation at Karunya University in Coimbatore. Stewart Beck (second right), High Commissioner for Canada in India, is in the picture.
Honour: Paul Dhinakaran (left), Chancellor, conferring the degree of ‘honoris causa' in science to W. Selvamurthy, Distinguished Scientist and Chief Controller, Research and Development, Defence Research and Development Organisation, during the convocation at Karunya University in Coimbatore. Stewart Beck (second right), High Commissioner for Canada in India, is in the picture.

As emerging economies like India harness the knowledge capacity of their large young population, the rest of the world, including Canada, will depend more and more on India to provide solutions to the planet's problems, Stewart Beck, High Commissioner for Canada in India, said here on Saturday.

Delivering the convocation address at Karunya University, he said, recognising this, the Government of Canada had made strengthening of bilateral relationship a key priority.

“The fact that India was the only country named in this year's budget is a strong evidence of this. The Government committed $ 12 million for five years to establish a Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence,” the High Commissioner said.

Important source

India would become an ever more important source of skilled professionals for the world's economies, particularly those like Canada, which face the challenge of an aging population, he added.

“From 2009 to 2010, the number of academic agreements between Canadian and Indian institutions doubled to more than 100. This number is expected to rise once the action plan under the Canada-India memorandum of understanding is signed,” Mr. Beck said.

Expressing happiness over the rising number of students seeing Canada as an education destination, he said the student visas went up to 12,000 from 3,000 in 2008-10.

“India is well placed to partner with Canada in science and technology where the latter has made significant investments. These investments, which now amount to $ 10 billion a year, have made Canada one of the strongest science and technology bases in the world,” Mr. Beck said.

One of the most important collaboration was the 2005 Science and Technology Co-operation Agreement that enabled a joint funding of $ 13.5 million. There were various other projects being funded under this collaboration.

“Beyond the science and technology agreement, there are additional opportunities for knowledge-based, commercial partnerships in sectors where India has a need and Canada has comparative knowledge advantage,” Mr. Beck added.

The university honoured W. Selvamurthy, Distinguished Scientist and Chief Controller, Research and Development, Defence Research and Development Organisation, with an honorary doctorate in science, and Jerome R. Konecsni, Director General, Plant Biotechnology Institute, National Research Council Canada, Saskatchewan, with an honorary doctorate in philosophy.

Nearly 2,000 candidates attended the ceremony. Paul Dhinakaran, Chancellor of the university, distributed the degree certificates.

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