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China-Pakistan relationship remains steady in plans to advance science and technology

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online)    17:16, July 13, 2020

The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Pakistan Science Foundation recently approved preliminary plans for 130 joint research projects in the context of climate change under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Since signing an agreement in 1976 for cooperation in science and technology, Pakistan and China have been engaged in close cooperation in both areas. Each country maintains a science and technology office in the embassies of each other’s country. Since 1979, hundreds of projects have been completed under the cooperation between the two nations in the area of capacity building, transfer of technology, joint research, and the commercialization of science and technology. The mutual exchange of scientists and joint seminars, conferences, and workshops are common activities.

The fourth Call of Proposals between PSF and NSFC was open from April 22, 2020, to June 1, 2020, in the following 4 categories: i) Fossil energy conversion and materials; ii) Utilization of renewable energy and resources; iii) Scientific ground of new energy utilization and technologies; iv) Safety evaluation and adaptive mechanism research on water-energy-food nexus under CPEC in the context of climate change.

According to the official list released by NSFC, 149 proposals were submitted to the two foundations this year, and currently, 130 joint research projects have been approved.

Since the founding of this alliance, NSFC and PSF have conducted joint scientific research activities pertaining to various disciplines along with efforts to strengthen cooperation between science and technology organizations of both countries.

Science and technology are engines of growth that have played a vital role in the rapid development of China over the past four decades. China has prioritized S&T, and the government has invested liberal funding to promote this sector. Chinese universities were equipped with the latest equipment for conducting research, while generous funding has made it possible for China to become a leader in several key technologies like High-speed Trains, Infrastructure Development, Telecommunication, Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, and Biotechnology, etc. As Chinese scientists work very hard, the government has provided a conducive environment, while the Industrial sector utilizes the research outputs, which helped China develop at an accelerated speed to emerge as the second-largest economy and geopolitical power.

China is also helping Pakistan produce a requisite human resource to face the challenges of modern-day. With over 30,000 Pakistani students studying various specializations in China, China remains the top destination among Pakistani youths for higher education. The Chinese government continues to provide liberal scholarships to attract brilliant students from Pakistan. Along with studying their specializations, the students also study the Chinese language, culture, traditions and political systems. On their return from China after graduation, they serve in various sectors of Pakistan, often earning a significant salary for their families along with the ability to promote Chinese culture, traditions, and goodwill. Contributing to the CPEC, these students are the Goodwill Ambassadors and guarantors of the everlasting China-Pakistan friendship. 

The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to People's Daily Online.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. E-mail: [email protected]

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