Bangalore: Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday said India's goal of becoming a global education superpower and its continued strong economic growth cannot be achieved without significant investment and effort.
"Scientific innovation can strengthen industry and transform society by facilitating the transition to a high-value, knowledge-based economy. This transition is well underway in India - for decades a leader in the field of information technology," he said, after distributing Infosys Prize 2013 here.
Stating that at the root of scientific advances is the brilliance, imagination and hard-work of talented people, he said "the leaders in scientific innovation will therefore be those countries which maximise the potential of their citizens and retain the brightest and best minds."
Pointing out that in the past, India has lost many of its most talented young people to research posts and jobs abroad, he said "this 'brain drain' has added greatly to the economies of their new homes in North America and Europe but damaged growth and prosperity in those they have left behind."
In yesterday's interconnected world, we cannot stop people moving to take advantage of the opportunities that exist around them. The answer is to provide the conditions and incentives where they can realise their dreams at home, he added.
Noting that Indian scientists and researchers increasingly no longer feel the need to travel abroad to fulfil their potential, Annan said "Opportunities for cutting-edge work and research here are multiplying."
"This is not only keeping many talented young people in India but also persuading those who have gone abroad to return," he added.
Annan however sounded a word of caution by stating that "there is, however, no room for complacency."
Stressing on the need for investment in research, he said "India's goal of becoming a global education superpower - and its continued strong economic growth - cannot be achieved without significant investment and effort."