ICAR as its global outreach has international cooperation mechanisms under the provisions of Government of India through MoUs/Work Plans signed with various Countries/International Organisations/ reputed Foreign Universities and Institutions. So far, DARE/ICAR has entered into 57 MoUs with different countries/organisations for furthering collaborative research. Some of the important ones being with Cornell University (USA), University of Queensland (Australia), University of Western Sydney (Australia) and Papua New Guinea University of Technology.
Besides the above-mentioned modes which entail bilateral cooperation, DARE-ICAR also participates in multilateral cooperation under the aegis of for a like IBSA (India, Brazil, and South Africa), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), India-Africa Forum, BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), etc.
DARE-ICAR engages in active collaboration with international agricultural research through the CGIAR Centres located in New Delhi through work plans. In addition, CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), NACA (Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific), APAARI (Asia-Pacific Association of Agriculture Research Institutions), UN-CAPSA (Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture), APCAEM (Asian and Pacific Centre for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery), ISTA (International Seed Testing Association), ISHS (International Society for Horticulture Sciences) are also the agencies with whom ICAR has meaningful collaborations.
At inter-departmental level, ICAR actively takes part in the Joint Commissions/Working Groups constituted by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce for agricultural research.
As the mandate of DARE-ICAR is on research and education in Agriculture and allied fields, the MoUs and Work Plans generally cover areas like advanced Agricultural Research and Education through study visits and training of scientists, exchange of literature, exchange of germplasm and capacity building programmes. During the last five years a total of over 1688 Scientists/science leaders were deputed abroad under the foreign collaborative programmes.
One of the path-breaking developments in the international collaboration in the field of agriculture in India was the signing of MOUs on 16th October 2016 during BRICS Summit hosted by India in Goa for the establishment of BRICS Agriculture Research Platform with its coordination unit in India. This platform provides information and knowledge sharing between the BRICS nations.
Two other landmark achievements beyond borders being establishment of Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education (ACARE) in Myanmar and Afghan National Agricultural Science and Technology University (ANASTU) in Kandahar, Afghanistan. These global footprints have proven India’s strength in global working for human resource development and institution building. Besides, the DARE/ICAR has also aligned its programs for South-South Cooperation enabling international cooperation through India-Africa Forum and ASEAN-India programs. In 2017, India hosted the ASEAN India Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi where our Action Plan (2017-20) was agreed upon and signed for cooperation. In 2015, India hosted the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi where several strategic partnerships for agriculture were established.
DARE/ICAR is an important and active partner in promoting collaboration in agricultural research and education in the SAARC region. For instance, the ICAR Institutes are actively involved in training and capacity building in the region in various spheres of agriculture, dairy and fisheries. Besides DARE/ICAR enables research collaboration through the Institutional mechanisms of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and G-20 nations through G-20 Meeting of Chief Agricultural Scientists (MACS).
In addition, ICAR promotes and DARE facilitates the process of enabling research collaborations though foreign-aided R&D projects. At present, there are about 48 foreign-aided collaboration projects. A half-yearly monitoring mechanism has been put in place to review the progress of such projects.
As a matter of piloting a few transformative global strategies in India, ICAR had implemented the World Bank funded National Agriculture Innovation Project (NAIP, 2004-13) that gave useful results in term of modernizing our R&D infrastructure, technology foresighting and enabling ecosystem for Agriculture Research and Development in the country. In 2018, another landmark project “National Higher Agricultural Education Project” has been implemented with the support of World Bank.
ICAR works closely with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which is an international R&D network having 15 Research Centres (Africa Rice Center (West Africa Rice Development Association, WARDA), Bioversity International, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), International Potato Center (CIP), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), World Agroforestry Centre (International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), WorldFish Center (International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management, ICLARM). India is a donor member of CGIAR System from decades and contributes substantially through CGIAR System Council mechanisms. Out of these 15 Centres, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has its headquartered at Hyderabad in the State of Telangana, India. The remaining CGIAR research organizations have headquarters elsewhere, but have a strong presence in India in the form of a country or South Asia regional offices in India. Through mutual agreements and work plans, ICAR participates in global agricultural research they benefits Indian agriculture per se. The broad areas of research collaboration with CGIAR system involves: enhanced cooperation in their areas of priority besides germplasm and technology development to achieve targeted crop and animal productivity and quality in India, focuss4ed strategies for joint efforts to address the issues like utilisation of rice fallows, watershed development, rain fed/dryland agriculture and water management and working together for doubling farmer’s income.
In addition to these, DARE/ICAR has entered into several collaborations through country’s bilateral arrangements to benefit from knowledge sharing and gaining of overall experience and exposure to the latest development of technology from/for various countries.
As part of human resources development, ICAR is the nodal agency for enabling admissions of foreign students to Indian Institutions for agricultural education. To this effect, DARE/ICAR administers the following fellowships:
- India-Africa fellowship
- India-Afghanistan fellowship
- India-Nepal fellowship
- IMTECH Scholarships for developing countries
- Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International fellowship for doctoral research.
- NHAEP supported post-doctoral fellowship.
- Any others, as provisioned by MEA from time to time.
The International Relations (IR) Division was established in ICAR Headquarters with the following mandates:
- To reach beyond borders legitimately for Agri-R&D.
- To do global technology foresighting.
- To enable research proposals for foreign collaboration and funding.
- To facilitate SMD/Institute Interface with DARE as a single-window and vice versa.
- To enable expert visitors from foreign countries to ICAR Institutes.
The IR Division in cooperation with International Cooperation (IC) Section of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) has been able to put in place the DARE/ICAR’s Foreign Visit Management System (https://fvms.icar.gov.in) to facilitate quick processing of foreign deputation cases. Recently, it has issued a simple guideline for establishing foreign collaborations vide F.No. 290/IR/Misc.Corr./2018 dt. 8th May, 2018 that has been hosted in the DARE and ICAR websites.