'Strengthen ties among SCO nations to combat infectious diseases'

In the light of COVID-19 disrupting world order, the Minister also appealed to scientists to find affordable healthcare solutions.
Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh
Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra SinghPTI

CHENNAI: Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh on Monday appealed to the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to strengthen cooperation to combat infectious diseases and prevent epidemics.

In the light of COVID-19 disrupting world order, the Minister also appealed to scientists to find affordable healthcare solutions. Addressing the inaugural session of the second SCO Young Scientists' Conclave (SCO YSC) organised by the Department of Science and Technology at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) here virtually, Singh also stressed upon finding solutions for common societal challenges.

''You're all aware that the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative influence on people's lives, health and well being in all the countries across the world. The SCO members must strengthen cooperation in preventing and countering the threat of infectious disease to the threat of epidemics in the SEO space,'' Singh said.

The role of innovators, young scientists and young scientists is critical in finding an affordable solution to combat epidemics, the Minister said. ''I have a special request particularly to the young scientists associated with the SCO that for the benefit of the world and for the welfare of the human being, you have to come forward and join hands for developing solutions for our common societal challenges,'' he said.

The SCO is an inter-governmental organisation, with Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and India as the member states.

This conclave aims to bring together innovative young minds from these member states onto a common platform to discuss various scientific ideas under five umbrella themes, namely, Agriculture and food processing; Environmental protection and natural resource management; Artificial Intelligence and big data research and application; Sustainable energy and energy storage; and Disease Biology and Healthcare, officials said.

The conclave hopes to establish a network of young talents via facilitating their interaction and fostering research collaboration during this five-day hybrid meeting, they said.

Stating that India maintained a close cultural and historical ties with SCO nations, Singh emphasised on further strengthening people-to-people contacts and cultural cooperation amongst them.. ''Therefore, the networking of young scientists is going to play an important role to further deepen our relationships and to carry forward to the next generation,'' the Minister said.

According to him, food security is another major area of concern for the SCO countries which comprise over three billion population. In this regard, he said technology will play a critical role in enhancing the quality as well as quantity of agricultural produce, which will ultimately benefit increasing the income of farmers.

Dwelling upon environmental degradation, he said preservation of the natural environment, ecosystems and bio-diversity in the context of the sustainable goals of SDGs is extremely important.

Providing every person with accessible, reliable and sustainable modern energy sources is the only major goal in the UN Sustainable Development Agenda until the year 2030, the minister said, adding the scientific community must boost science and technology cooperation on energy innovations.

''We encourage use of various clean and low carbon technologies in the energy sector,'' the minister noted.

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