Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday emphasised on the need of innovation in every sphere of life while interacting with the students of Singapore’s prestigious Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He also visited an exhibition being held at NTU and interacted with a social robot.
Participating in a dialogue titled ‘Transforming Asia through Innovation’ with NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, he said, “In our knowledge-based economy, Singapore and India rely on the free flow of talent and ideas into their countries and through their universities”.
“The biggest challenge before us is that the 21st century belongs to Asia. But do we have this sentiment, I think that is the biggest challenge,” he said.
He said skills for the digital age, creating adequate jobs in the age of digital reception, agricultural productivity, water, pollution, rapid and mass urbanisation, climate change, building sustainable infrastructure and protecting the blue economy were some of the common challenges facing humankind.
“These challenges require collaboration among governments, universities and laboratories. Policy interventions are important, a lot of finance would be needed given the scope and magnitude. We need innovation and technology to address these challenges,” he said.
Modi cited a report by an American university on the economic development of 2,000 years according to which he said India and China contributed to 50 per cent of the world GDP for 1,600 years.
“It is only the last 300 years where we find the dominance of the western world,” he said. “If we can overcome our internal problems, this interconnected world that we have if we can transform that into opportunities in the service of humanities for peace and for harmony then we together can make a huge contribution.
“In human history, India and China have dominated global trade for centuries. At the same time, there was no conflict. We must think of furthering connectivity without any conflict,” he said.
He also said technology is aiding human creativity and various social media platforms have given voice to millions.
“We have progressed through the ages due to innovation and due to ethics as well as humanitarian values,” the prime minister said.
In the wake of depletion of natural resources, new technology will help in evolving new alternative ways for human race to sustain, he said.
During his visit to the university, six agreements were signed to strengthen academic and industry partnerships between NTU and leading Indian universities and institutions. Modi was accompanied by Singapore’s Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.
(With inputs from PTI)