A meeting was held between the delegations of COMSATS and the Government of China on 8th July 2017, in Islamabad. The Chinese delegation was led by H.E. Dr. Wan Gang, Minister for Science and Technology. Other members of Chinese delegation were H.E. Mr. Sun Weidong, Ambassador of China to Pakistan; Mr. Ye Dongbai, Director General, International Cooperation, Ministry of Science and Technology, China; Ms. Lyu Jia, Deputy Director, Ministry of Science and Technology, China; Mr. Zhao Lijian, DCM/Political Counsellor, Embassy of China in Islamabad; and Mr. Jia Wei, First Secretary (S&T), Embassy of China in Islamabad. COMSATS’ delegation was led by Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS, and included Ambassador (R) Shahid Kamal, Head, Centre for Climate Research & Development (CCRD), CIIT; Ambassador (R) Fauzia Nasreen, Head, Center for Policy Studies, CIIT; Prof. Dr. Qaisar Abbas, Director, Lahore Campus, CIIT; Mr. Tajammul Hussain, Advisor (Programmes), COMSATS Headquarters; and Mr. Farhan Ansari, Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes), COMSATS Headquarters. Mr. Amjad Hussain, Joint Scientific Advisor (IL), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan, also attended the meeting.
The Executive Director informed the Chinese delegation regarding the mission, organizational structure, current membership and ongoing programmes of COMSATS. It was informed that one of the main achievements of COMSATS so far is the establishment of the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), which is ranked at top-most position in Pakistan. He stated that COMSATS wishes to set-up similar universities in other Member States, including China. Highlighting the activities of COMSATS’ Network of International S&T Centres of Excellence, the Executive Director informed regarding the intention to bring some top institutions from the North in the Network. He thanked the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan, for bearing the operational expenses of COMSATS Secretariat, and also gratefully acknowledged the financial and in-kind contribution of China, which is a founder member of COMSATS. In this regard, the contributions of the International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences (ICCES), China, as well as its active collaborations with other Network members were appreciated, and it was hoped that the center will continue to enjoy the support of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. He also paid gratitude to the honourable Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan for his efforts to facilitate collaboration between COMSATS and China.
The Executive Director informed that COMSATS would like to participate in China’s mega program, One Belt One Road (OBOR), as majority of COMSATS Member States fall in the route. In this regard, COMSATS would like to participate in China’s program of South-South cooperation and other programs announced by the honourable President of China on 14th May 2017. He informed that CIIT is actively participating in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) program. He also informed His Excellency about the Pak-China Business Forum being organized annually by CIIT for last few years.
H.E. Dr. Wan Gang, Minister for Science and Technology, Government of China, expressed pleasure on visiting Pakistan and having the opportunity to discuss possibilities of collaboration with COMSATS. He stated that COMSATS has been playing an effective role for South-South cooperation, which includes establishment of CIIT, setting-up of Network of Centers of Excellence, and capacity building and talent cultivation activities. He recalled that ICCES, China, is actively collaborating with other members of COMSATS’ Network, and will continue to receive the support of Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology for its participation in COMSATS’ activities. He informed that prediction, monitoring and mitigation of extreme weather events as well as environmental protection is among the priority areas of Government of China, and therefore considered the activities of COMSATS’ International Thematic Research Group on ‘Climate Change and Environmental Protection’ (led by ICCES, China) highly important and beneficial.
The honourable Minister recalled that the honourable President of China, during his speech on 14th May 2017, highlighted the role of science, technology and innovation in the OBOR initiative, and announced programmes related to S&T personnel exchange, establishment of joint laboratories and centers, and setting-up S&T Parks for technology transfer. It was informed that China is planning to collaborate with COMSATS in the following areas:
- Jointly organizing trainings for developing countries;
- Hosting seminars and forums;
- Supporting Chinese researchers to participate in COMSATS’ activities; and
- Participation in international research projects.
The honourable Minister praised CIIT’s initiative of annually holding Pak-China Business Forum and encouraged to continue the same in future. He informed that on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the Director General International Cooperation will interact with COMSATS. He encouraged the Chinese Ambassador in Islamabad to continue to actively correspond with COMSATS. He also encouraged COMSATS to keep track of the international programmes announced by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology from time to time, and propose collaboration in the areas of mutual interest.
The meeting paved way for future collaboration between China and COMSATS for facilitating S&T-led socio-economic development in the South.