New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) Technological and financial support in healthcare, especially cancer research and treatment, will be among important focus areas during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to Tokyo, industry people and officials said.
A delegation comprising nearly 20 people from Japan's health industry is on a visit to India to explore possible areas of cooperation. The delegation visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and discussed the possibility of cooperation and support, especially in cancer research and treatment.
A senior AIIMS official, who was a part of the discussions, said the Japanese side showed keen interest for collaboration in cancer research and treatment.
"They wanted to know where they can make a difference. Various possibilities including opening up a centre was discussed," Neerja Bhatla, chairperson of media and protocol at AIIMS, told IANS.
Bhatla, who is also professor of gynaecology at AIIMS, said the possibilities of cooperation was discussed for the upcoming National Cancer Institute at AIIMS Jhajjar, Haryana, campus. The institute is being set up by the Indian government at an estimated cost of Rs.2,035 crore.
The delegation led by managing director of Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Takahiro Ota, also held talks for possible cooperation with private Indian hospitals. Takeshi Sano, a renowned innovator in gastric cancer surgery, and senior executives of Hitachi were also part of the delegation.
"Indo-Japanese collaboration will have a far reaching impact on education, training, introduction of latest technology and employment in India," Rajesh Srivastava, chairman, Rockland Hospitals, told IANS.
The Japanese delegation visited Rockland Hospitals and held talks with the top management. They explored the possibilities of setting up a joint venture in the area of cancer screening and treatment, an official involved in the discussion said.
Some important cooperation agreements are likely to be announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to Japan.
Modi's visit to Japan was initially planned for the first week of July. However, due to the national budget, the visit has been postponed and it is likely to take place by the end of July or early August.
"We hope healthcare will be an area of focus during the prime minister's visit," said Bhatla adding the discussions among the medical professionals and officials of the two countries during the Japanese delegation visit would provide some important ground for agreements in the sector.
On possible areas of cooperation between the two countries, Rockland Hospitals chairman Srivastava said India can benefit from the experience of the Japanese and the Japanese can gain a lot by learning from a large and diverse patient's profile which can be used globally for a joint healthcare mission.
"Indian doctors and nurses are respected worldwide and are preferred by several developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. India gets the second largest number of medical travellers in Asia. Indo-Japanese collaboration in healthcare can give both the countries a dominant role in the global arena," Srivastava added.
(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)