India opens high-altitude military research centre in Kyrghyzstan

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    Mar 13, 2010
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    India opens high-altitude military research centre in Kyrghyzstan

    NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday opened a mountain biomedical research centre in Kyrghyzstan to help better the lives of both military personnel and civilians, making it the first such joint project New Delhi has had with any country.

    The centre, which has been built in Kyrghyz capital Bishkek, was jointly inaugurated by Kyrghyzstan President Roza Otumbaeva and Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony on the second day of the latter's three-day visit to the Central Asian nation.

    "The Kyrghyz-Indian Mountain Biomedical Research Centre (KIMBMRC) will carry out research on the mechanism of short-term and long-term high altitude adaptation," a defence ministry release here said.

    "It will also mobilise and synchronise the expertise of the two countries in the area of high altitude research," it added.

    Scientists from the two countries will focus on molecular biology approaches to identify markers for screening of people for high altitude resistance and susceptibility to high altitude sickness and development of mountain maladies.

    "The benefits of these studies will apply to a large population across the globe, as more and more people travel to the mountains every year. India's contribution to the project is Rs.6 crore," the release said.

    The centre has a field station at Tuya Ashu, located at a height of 3,200 metre. Akpay Sarybaev, a leading cardiologist and expert in mountain medicine, has been nominated as the centre's director.

    The proposal for joint collaboration in the area of mountain medicine and to establish the centre was mooted during talks between then Kyrghyz President A. Akaev and then Indian president A.P.J Abdul Kalam in November 2003.

    "The realisation of that shared vision has finally culminated in the establishment of this centre. The joint endeavour of our scientists will provide a platform to utilise the expertise of both the institutes in a holistic manner to evaluate, as well as improve the performance and enhance the process of acclimatisation at high altitudes using psychological, biochemical and molecular research tools," Antony said at the event.

    President Otunbaeva, in her address, thanked the Indian government for taking the initiative for setting up this world class institute in Bishkek.

    She said 10 percent of Kyrghyzstan's gross domestic product is generated by the populace living in high altitudes. "The fruits of the research of the scientists of this institute will help in improving the life and health of people living in high altitude areas," she said.

    India has deputed a team of physiologists, biochemists and molecular biologists, headed by India's Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) director Shashi Bala Singh to the centre's facilities in both Bishkek and Tuya Ashu to carry out studies on high altitude acclimatisation with special reference to molecular mechanism of human performance promotion and amelioration of maladies in mountain operations.

    The scientists team will be assisted by 20 Indian Army soldiers, who too have been deputed to the centre.
    The Indian scientists and soldiers will stay there for about six weeks.

    A large number of dignitaries including Kyrghyz Minister of Health Sabyrbek Jumabekov, First Deputy Defence Minister Zamir Suerkulov, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Nurlan Aitmuarzaev, and Indian ambassador to Kyrghyzstan P. Stobdan, apart from the Indian defence ministry delegation was present at the inaugural function.

    India opens high-altitude military research centre in Kyrghyzstan - The Economic Times

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