Washington, Feb 26: China is in “many ways far ahead” of India in the field of science, says a concerned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who last month pledged to more than double the country's R&D spending to USD 8 billion a year by 2017.
In an interview to the prestigious US ‘Science' magazine, Singh reiterated his concern that India's relative position in the world of science has been declining over the past few decades and it has been overtaken by countries like China.
“China is in many ways far ahead of India,” he said.
Asked if India is competing with China in the field of scientific research, Singh said: “Well, we are competing, yes and no.”
“India and China are engaged in a stage of development where we have both to compete and cooperate. We are the two largest developing countries and the two fastest growing countries. China is our great neighbour. Now, we've had in the past problems way back in the 1960s, but we are finding pathways to promote cooperation,” Singh said.
His comments follow his recent pledge to hike R&D expenditures from around USD 3 billion last year to USD 8 billion a year by 2017.
During the interview, the Prime Minister laid out his vision for science in India and commented on controversial topics, such as genetically-modified food.
Singh said that Indian scientists need to focus on agriculture sector too. “We need to pay a lot more attention to the development of our agriculture.
“That will accelerate the tempo of rural development, which will help to increase the opportunities for our scientists to work in rural areas in development of water-management technologies, in development of environment-friendly technologies,” he said.