Thanks to the Government of India for approaching IIITD to be part of a four member delegation from India to attend the “First meeting of the Joint Committee on Science and Technology Peru-India” in Lima. It was a 3 day meeting from April 7 – 9, 2014. This was my first trip to Peru and first experience in being part of such a delegation from the Government of India, so, I had a lot of excitement, curiosity and anxiety about the trip. With all my travel hassles (ask me, if you are interested in knowing more about it!), I reached Lima on 6th late evening. The Indian Embassy in Lima extended great hospitality; they took care of us very well, throughout our stay. Four members of the delegation were: Dr. Arabinda Mitra, Head, International Bilateral Cooperation, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Co-Chair for the meeting; Dr. Jagdesh Chander, Advisor, International Bilateral Cooperation, DST, Member Secretary for the meeting; Dr. Vipin Kumar, Director, National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad; and myself. This blog is intended only to capture the formal / official part of the visit.
The meeting started bang at 0900hrs on 7th morning in the Lima Business Tower; I felt a lot of enthusiasm from their side in learning from India, sharing their experience with us and finding ways to collaborate. National Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CONCYTEC), the counterpart for DST, was the host for the meeting and for all activities. We had the President (Co-Chair for the meeting) and the Director for International relationship sharing the dais with Dr. Mitra and Dr. Chander. After the initial welcome remarks, CONCYTEC team and other experts from the Peruvian side presented their topics of priority for collaboration with India, the modes through which the collaboration can be achieved, their national plan for science and technology. It was wonderful to be sitting in a room of 15+ people, all dressed formally (see the pic below, which may surprise you! You can see more pictures here), and listening to very senior officials talking Science and Technology at the country level. After the first session, we had presentations from the Indian delegation; from the presentations made by Dr. Mitra, Dr. Chander, and Dr. Vipin, I learned a lot about Science and Technology work at the national level. I also got a chance to present about “Cybersecurity in India”, it was a different and a learning experience – there was an interpreter / translator sitting in a transparent / enclosed cubicle at the end of the room translating and repeating everything in Spanish. Participants were listening to the Spanish content transmitted by the interpreter using the headphones. I have been part of meetings / conferences where I have used this facility at the receiving end, but this the first time where what I am saying was being translated into another language, and others were listening to it 🙂 During the meetings, the team (including India and Peru members) agreed on the common topics of interest and next steps to follow.
As part of the delegation, I also visited National Institute for Research and Training in Telecommunications (INICTEL); this was literally a royal (figuratively) experience. A couple of faculty had attended the meetings in Lima Business Tower; they were hosting me in the institute, including the Director of the institute. They were really organized and meticulous. They had very good promotional videos of the institute, and a deck of slides that they presented to showcase their work. Here again, there was an interpreter (not the headphone type) who repeated all the content spoken in the room in English for me. The hospitality of the entire team in the institute was amazing (see the pic below. You can see more pictures here); the Director of the institute spent the entire time with me during my visit, showcasing all the labs, products, and faculty. Everybody in the institute showed a lot of expectations from India, I felt very welcoming and needed, both individually and at the national level. I stayed there for about 2 hours and it was very informative.
One of the goals for this meeting / delegation was also to sign a Protocol of Co-operation in Science & Technology for 2014 – 2016 between India and Peru. This was planned in the Ambassador’s house; the current Ambassador is Shri. Manpreet Vohra. About 18+ people were invited for signing event followed by dinner; invitees represented different Ministries in Peru, COCNYTEC, and a few other institutes (including, Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Press release for the signing event was prepared during the day and it was sent out as a Joint Press Release. It went online on the Indian Embassy in Peru in less than few hours after the Protocol was signed. Picture below shows the signing event. This is my first experience being part of such a bilateral event; it was so overwhelming to be standing next to a large Indian Flag and being around such high profile individuals of both the country. There was a celebration after the signing process; we were served delicious Indian food. I was eating some proper vegetarian food for the first time after leaving Delhi on April 6th 🙂 Pictures from the signing event also went on the FB page of the Indian Embassy very soon. Overall, it was a learning, and different experience.
I have tried to capture all the important, interesting, and touchy moments of this visit to Peru. Please visit here for more pics from the visit.
P.S. During this trip, I also read Varun Agarwal’s “How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company” Stay tuned on this!