The launch of the intermediate range ballistic missile Agni-III was a "partial success" and should be seen as a stepping stone in pushing the country towards further advances in military technology, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday.
"Agni-III was a partial success," Mukherjee said in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a function to mark the laying of the foundation stone of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER).
Quoting former German chancellor Otto von Bismark, Mukherjee said, "I told the young and senior scientists involved with the project that one success will not only obscure our failure, but also help push the country towards further advancement in technology." After being launched from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast on Sunday, the nuclear-capable developed a fault and fell into the sea.
Stating that the degree of a nation's power depended on its advances in technology, Mukherjee said, "Superpower means gaining superior technology. That is why Pandit Nehru wanted to kindle the scientific temperament in the country".
"Asked what his biggest challenge was in the 11th year of his government, Pandit Nehru had replied that it was to inculcate the modern spirit in a country of ancient wisdom," he said.
Kolkata, once the knowledge centre of the country, lagged behind subsequently due to historic reasons, Mukherjee said and expressed the hope that institutions like IISER would help the metropolis tide over this deficiency.