to his work.” Currently, he was serving on the Governing Body of St. Stephen’s College and on the Board of Management of the Indira Gandhi National Open University, both located in New Delhi.

Ceding the floor to Minister Sibal, Dr. Marburger said that he would look forward to hearing the minister’s words of wisdom on what he hoped would be his frequent visits to the United States, just as all present were looking forward to hearing him speak at that moment.

INDIA’S CHANGING INNOVATION SYSTEM

Kapil Sibal

Ministry of Science and Technology


Minister Sibal began his remarks by thanking Dr. Marburger for the introduction and promising not to let him down by failing to say something that he had never heard before. He explained that his preference, expressed the previous evening, for the geography of science over the history of science stemmed from the conviction that we at the dawn of the 21st century are no more able to imagine the changes that will take place in the coming hundred years than observers of a century ago were able to envision life as it is now.

The challenges of the past century were far different from the challenges that our civilizations are to face in the one just begun. The 20th century was a century of conflict: Empires created in the 19th century were on their way to being dismantled before its close, but it was in the 20th century that the dismantlement had been completed. The driving force in both building and dismantling empires, Minister Sibal declared, had been technology. In the march of civilization through the 20th century, force and velocity were at the heart of technological development. “Force and velocity became, in a sense, policy determinants,” he said. “Force and velocity were the reason for change.”

In the 21st century, however, all would be different. “Force will have no role to play; markets will.” In an ever-expanding global economy, the challenges would relate to the availability of water or energy, to the environment, to disease, to hunger, to poverty, and to natural disasters, with many others on the list as well.

Referring to the title of his talk, the minister posited that a prerequisite to understanding India’s changing innovation system was an understanding of America’s changing investment needs, as the two went hand in hand. Why were Western countries, among them the United States, looking for markets? Because today’s consumer wants the highest quality product at the lowest possible price. Meanwhile, the value of physical assets owned by multinationals have been on the decline over the previous 20–25 years, but the value of their nontangible assets—their intellectual property—has been increasing. These facts are at the heart



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