Defence minister Rajnath Singh has called upon industry leaders to come up with innovative solutions to help India become a ‘leader’ from an ‘imitator’ in futuristic technologies and stay prepared to deal with challenges emanating from the current global security scenario.
He was addressing the annual session of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi and the theme of the session was ‘Future Frontiers: Competitiveness, Technology, Sustainability and Internationalisation’.
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In today’s era the security equations are changing at an unprecedented pace and countries are focusing more than ever on technological advancements in the fields of artificial intelligence, quantum computing & genetics etc, the minister said.
In his address he termed it as both – a challenge of not lagging behind in the race of technology as well as an opportunity of making a mark, with the aim to help the nation leapfrog on the path of progress. And described Research & Development (R&D) in cutting-edge technology as the only way to achieve this goal, stating that it opens new dimensions crucial for the development and security of any nation in today’s times. “We need to set new goals and achieve them through innovative methods to keep ourselves prepared to deal with any challenges arising out of the ever-evolving global situation. R&D has the ability to convert things, which are viewed as resources, into resources. Technology improves the utilisation of the available resources. It acts as a force multiplier,” he said.
And also stressed on the need for R&D to achieve excellence in various fields, including defence, commerce & communication, health, education, agriculture, stating that it can give the country an edge over the others.
According to the minister there are two faces to the technology paradigm across the globe – one of a leader nation which grabs an opportunity, innovates & invents a new technology and the other of an imitator which follows the leader. He exhorted the industry captains to strive to make India a technology leader from an imitator and urged them to increase their in-house R&D funding and make inroads in new & untouched sectors/products/goods & services through new technologies.
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During his address he listed out the key requirements for a nation to become a technology leader, such as a substantial capital, a robust R&D infrastructure, demography as well as the ability to adopt, understand & create a base of previous technologies.
And also talked about the number of steps, such as banking policy, regulatory policy, providing funds, labour policy, education & health policy, which provide a playfield to the youth and the industry to work together and take R&D in the country to greater heights the government has taken.
He was of the view that the country’s population, which was once considered a liability, is now being viewed as an asset. “India is currently passing through a Demographic Dividend. The minister described the youth as the most crucial aspect of the demographic dividend, stating that the continuous growth of start-ups in the country is a result of the potential, energy and enthusiasm of the young Indian minds.
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr Samir V Kamat, other senior officials of Ministry of Defence and industry captains were among those present on the occasion.