Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked industry captains to help India become a "leader" instead of an "imitator" in developing futuristic technologies, saying such an approach would help it deal with challenges emanating from the current global security scenario.
Singh said 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 and genetics.
"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... Technology improves the utilisation of the available resources. It acts as a force multiplier," he said.
The defence minister was addressing the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He called upon the industry leaders to come up with innovative solutions to help India become a "leader" from an "imitator" in futuristic technologies.
Describing the country's population as an asset, the defence minister said the government's aim is to convert it into a "wealth creating resource" from a "wealth consuming entity".
Singh described research and 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.
He stressed the need for R&D to achieve excellence in various fields, including defence, health, education, agriculture, commerce and communication, stating that it can give the country an edge over the others.
"To keep ourselves strong, we need to maintain our edge in these sectors. It will be possible only if we become technology leaders," he said.
Singh pointed out that there are two faces to the technology paradigm across the globe -- one of a "leader nation" which grabs an opportunity, innovates and invents a new technology and the other of an imitator which follows the leader.
He urged the industry captains to increase their in-house R&D funding and make inroads in new and untouched sectors, products, goods and services through new technologies.
The defence minister listed 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 and create a base of previous technologies.
He said the government has taken a number of steps, such as banking policy, regulatory policy, providing funds, labour policy, education and health policy that could help research and development reach greater heights.