New Delhi: Highlighting the need for research and development in the area of basic sciences, former President A P J Abdul Kalam on Friday exhorted scientists and technocrats to work towards bringing India in the list of top 10 countries in the world under this category.
Addressing a gathering of scientists and technocrats here, Dr Kalam along with Minister of Science and Technology Vilasrao Deshmukh and Minister of State for S&T Ashwini Kumar listed out the priority areas which need technological intervention.
"As per the Global Innovation Index, India ranks 62 and our ranking in Global Competition Index is 56. If India has to graduate from its present ranking and rank among top 10 nations, we must understand that research is vital, particularly in areas of basic sciences," Dr Kalam said.
On the need for tackling issues of national security with the help of right technology, Ashwini Kumar said, "We cannot forget that we are living in a troubled neighbourhood. We need to invent, reinforce and visibly demonstrate the capability of India's science and technological advancement in various areas."
Whether it is cyber warfare, armed conflicts, pandemics, ecological and environmental challenges, all these have an impact on national security, Mr Kumar said, adding that, "If we have to succeed in our endeavour of inclusive growth and development, we need to come up with innovative solutions both at the level of society and the nation."
Observing that the country is moving towards establishment of a knowledge-based industry, Mr Deshmukh said, "We need to ensure synergy between research and product development. We should focus on gaining access to the critical technologies and the needs of the future."
On the 14th Technology Day, which is being observed to commemorate the anniversary of Pokhran-II nuclear tests, the government also stressed upon finding right technologies to address the issues concerning national security.
Mr Deshmukh said the dream of bringing the country into the club of developed nations should be made into a national and social commitment.
"India becoming a developed nation by 2020. It is not a dream. It should become a national and social commitment. We should strive to achieve key objectives in innovation areas such as technological self-reliance, innovation and global competitiveness in critical technology," he said.
On the occasion, Dr Kalam also launched two programs to boost development of research oriented programs in the country.
The two programmes - Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA) launched in association with the CII and Millennium Alliance in collaboration with FICCI - will aim at achieving excellence in technology through public private partnership.
Expressing confidence over India's advancement in critical technologies, Dr Kalam mentioned few recent achievements such as the successful launch of Agni-5 missile, maiden test flight of naval version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), all-weather Radar Imaging Satellite RISAT-1 and development of medicines to cure malaria.
Mr Deshmukh said that during the recent visit of US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the United States promised to contribute USD 5 million for technological development as a joint initiative with India.