The need to streamline visa procedures was underlined by a senior American official at a top US-India meeting in Washington Thursday, saying it was an "appallingly pervasive problem" in science and technology cooperation between the two countries.
"Visas have been an appallingly pervasive problem in science and technology cooperation," said Dr John P Holdren, Advisor to the US President on Science and Technology, at the inauguration of first US-India Joint Commission on Science and Technology Cooperation.
"We need to streamline visa procedures and we have made considerable achievements already in the Obama administration," Holdren told Indian and American scientists and officials, who over the next two days would be brainstorming to find out areas of collaboration between the two countries and how to address the major challenges.
Prithviraj Chavan, the Minister of State for Science and Technology who is attending the meet, said the launch of the long overdue joint commission is a historic moment that augurs well for both the countries.
The US is a very large economy and India is poised to become one, the two countries would together have great bearing on the future, he observed.
"The commitment of our two leaders in building knowledge society, without a doubt, is at a level never seen before," the Indian minister said in his opening remarks.
He said the challenges, water, food security, food, climate change or threat to national security, being faced can only be addressed through science and technology and through cooperation between willing partners.
"For the relationship to be meaningful, it has to be a mutually beneficial arrangement, with a win win situation," he said.
Holdren listed out the challenges being faced in this sector of co-operation between the two countries.
Though this is the first meeting of the Indo-US Joint Commission on Science and Technology, he said the two countries have already accomplished together in this field.
Science and Technology plays a key role in addressing the challenges being faced by both India and the US, the top US official underlined.
Meera Shankar, the Indian Ambassador to the US, highlighted the key role of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the US last year for laying the ground work to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two nations.
She underlined that deepening of cooperation in science and technology will help India leapfrog some of the problems it faces.