Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, on Monday commended the way in which India and the U.S. have enhanced collaboration in research and development which will advance scientific discoveries and the management of global health threats.

She mentioned the solidarity between both countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, where both sides extended support.

The Minister said India and the U.S. have enhanced research collaboration, especially in pharmaceuticals, therapeutics, and vaccine development, which could be seen in Indian vaccine companies collaborating with US-based agencies to develop the Covid-19 vaccine.

Bharati Pawar was addressing the inaugural session of the fourth India-US Health Dialogue. Marking the beginning of the two-day programme, she recognized that the platform will provide an opportunity to all participants for detailed deliberations which may be used to broaden the scope of partnership on health with multiple agencies both in India and the U.S.

The US delegation for the dialogue is led by Loyce Pace, Director, Office of Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), while India is being represented by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Balram Bhargava, ICMR Director, among others.

The two-day event will be leveraged as a platform to deliberate upon multiple ongoing collaborations in the health sector between the two countries. The issues planned for deliberations in this round also encompass areas of concern pertaining to strengthening of epidemiological research and surveillance, vaccine development, One Health, zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, health systems and health policies.

The Minister in her address acknowledged the enhanced cooperation and strengthened bilateral ties in the health sector between both countries. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been finalised between India's Health Ministry and the Department of Health and Human Services of the US with major areas of cooperation covering issues like health safety and security, communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases, health systems, and health policy.

Pawar emphasized on the need to focus on these emerging areas to prevent and control infectious diseases relying on well-designed and validated scientific approaches and collaboration between countries.