WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Deputy Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner announced a successful conclusion to the first board meeting of the U.S.-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture here last week.

The United States and India began their collaborative relationship in agricultural education and research more than 50 years ago, leading to the launch of India's Green Revolution.

"Over the past two days, the Board of the U.S.-India Knowledge Initiative has laid the groundwork for a new chapter in our partnership by focusing on innovative joint projects in which both the public and private sectors can cooperate," Conner said. "These projects will promote the development and adoption of science and technology to increase agricultural productivity. The Board has taken an important step toward invigorating our tradition of knowledge exchange."

Projects will help identify collaborative scientific research, development and commercialization; promote traditional and emerging technologies, including biotechnology; facilitate technology transfer; foster sound, transparent scientific policies; support internationally recognized regulatory frameworks; develop viable agricultural market systems and infrastructure, and create investments in science, technology and agribusiness. A preliminary report on project recommendations will be submitted early next year as a lead-up to President George W. Bush's planned visit to India in February.

The Board is composed of eight members from each country, representing academia, government and the private sector. Co-chairs are A. Ellen Terpstra, administrator of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, and Mangala Rai, secretary of India's Department of Agricultural Research and Education and Director General of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.

The U.S.-India Knowledge Initiative was announced by President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the Prime Minister's visit to the United States in July of this year. Last month in New Delhi, the Initiative Declaration was formally signed by the United States and India.

For more information about the Initiative, contact FAS' International Cooperation and Development program area at (202) 690-0776.

SOURCE: USDA news release.