Path to progress
In her fiery speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), foreign minister Sushma Swaraj pointed out that India has built institutions of technology, management, medicine and space research while Pakistan has created terrorist organizations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba. This is an undoubted achievement that needs to be built on.
India needs modern technology for its economic development as well as strategic autonomy. There are three prerequisites. First, an education system that promotes free inquiry rather than censor inconvenient views. Second, robust institutions where research can be conducted without the shadow of administrative interference. Third, a public culture that respects the scientific method even when it challenges traditional ways of doing things.
No nation has made a global impact without the embrace of modern science. The institutions that Swaraj listed began to get built when Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister. All subsequent political regimes have, thankfully, continued on that path, some more than others.
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