India's intellectual fire, masked during foreign rule, has started burning brighter and is now visible to the world community. The present century is going to be dominated by the knowledge society and having inherited great intellectual capabilities and wisdom, the new ambience augurs well for India to earn its rightful place in the world sooner than later.
The proven democratic systems of governance, liberalisation of economy, exposure of Indians to world economic order and competition have acted as catalysts to further increase the chances for India to become a global power.
India’s post-independence achievements in science and technology are remarkable. The country has shown the world it can carry out cutting-edge technological research and development and achieve practical results that benefit the common man. The green and white revolutions are fine examples of merging technology with sociological needs. Deciphering the atom and making use of it for power generation and for security needs has demonstrated the competence of Indian scientists.
Outer space for earthly needs
In the arena of space, though India has a short history compared to others, it has achieved technology and services on par with developed countries. The Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite for earth observation, INSAT for communication and powerful launch vehicles like Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for orbiting the satellites have demonstrated the power of indigenous technology and skills of homegrown scientists.
Above all, India is a leading country in harnessing advanced space technology for benefiting the common man. The national resource planning, utilisation for agriculture, forestry, fisheries etc, as well as reaching out to people in far flung places by providing tele-medicine and tele-education services are some of the finest examples of space applications. The developments in the IT sector, enabling software specialists to take on the challenges of global community, and developments biotechnology are proof of the performance of our young scientists. India has shown to the world that it has totally indigenous technologies and skills on par with other developed countries.
Focus on the youth
The future of India is in the hands of its youth. It is expected that India will have the largest youth population in the world in the coming decades. If they are trained properly and equipped to take on the demands of the global community, India can become of the global leaders both in terms of technology and economic strength. The skill and knowledge, combined with innovation, can definitely lead to appropriate solutions for the problems faced by the society.
This, when translated into cost effective products and services delivered on a timely basis can lead India to global leadership. Innovation and entrepreneurial skills can make the country great and lead us in achieving the status of a developed nation in the coming decade.
The road to becoming a superpower is already visible and well lit. It is for us to walk ahead without going astray or allowing others to overtake us.
(Nair is the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation)