Kyrghyz-Indian Mountain Biomedical Research Centre (KIMBMRC) Innaugrated

Marking a major milestone in the cooperation between the two countries, the Kyrghyz President Ms Roza Otunbaeva and the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today inaugurated the Kyrghyz-Indian Mountain Biomedical Research Centre (KIMBMRC) at the Kyrghyz capital, Bishkek today.

The Centre will carry out research on the mechanism of short term and long term high altitude adaptation. It will also mobilize and synchronise the expertise of the two countries in the area of high altitude research. The scientists 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 Crores.

A large number of dignitaries including the Kyrghyz Minister of Health Dr Sabyrbek Jumabekov, the First Deputy Defence Minister Mr Zamir Suerkulov, the first Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Nurlan Aitmuarzaev, Indian ambassador to Kyrghyzstan Mr P Stobdan Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister Dr VK Saraswat, Special Secretary Shri RK Mathur, Secretary of Defence Finance Ms Vijay Lakshmi Gupta and Chief Controller of Research and Development Dr William Selvamurthy were present on the occasion to witness the historic moment.

The proposal to have a joint collaboration in the area of mountain medicine and establish a Centre was mooted during the visit and discussions held between the Kyrghyz President Mr A Akaev and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in November 2003.

‘ The realization of that shared vision has finally culminated in the establishment of this Centre. The joint endeavour of our scientists will provide a platform to utilize the expertise of both the institutes in a holistic manner to evaluate, as well as improve the performance and enhance the process of acclimatization at high altitudes using psychological, biochemical and molecular research tools’, Shri Antony said.

The Kyrghyz President Dr Roza Otunbaeva thanked the Government of India for taking the initiative for setting up this world class institute in Bishkek. She said 10% of the GDP in Kyrghyzstan 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.

The Centre has a field station at Tuya Ashu, located at a height of 3200 metres. Prof Akpay Sarybaev, a leading cardiologist and expert in mountain medicine is nominated as the Director of KIMBMRC.

A team of scientists including physiologists, biochemists and molecular biologists, headed by the Director of Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), Dr Shashi Bala Singh along with 20 Indian Army soldiers are deputed to KIMBMRC, Bishkek and Tuya Ashu to carry out studies on high altitude acclimatization with special reference to molecular mechanism of human performance promotion and amelioration of maladies in mountain operations. The team will stay for about six weeks.

Sitanshu Kar

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