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|October 7, 1998||
Security first, everything else afterwards, says Joshi
India today strongly justified its nuclear tests in May, saying the exercise was undertaken to keep the country's borders and citizens secure.
"Our intention was to ensure the safety of our boundaries and our citizens," Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi told reporters in Paris, where he is attending the world conference on higher education convened by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
When it was pointed out that India could have diverted the resources it had spent on the tests to the social sector, Dr Joshi replied, "Only a well-defended nation can indulge in high academic pursuits."
He said the country's integrity is more important than everything else. "If there is no country, where is the question of social welfare?" he countered.
On higher education, Dr Joshi said it should not be left at the mercy of market forces. The content will have to be country-specific, he said.
Dr Joshi, whose speech in Hindi at the conference yesterday drew thunderous applause, said the meeting had given the world community an opportunity to understand new trends in higher education in the context of globalisation.
Asked how India proposed to cope with the 'brain drain', Dr Joshi said the government was trying to create attractive job opportunities for professionals within the country.
He said the problem was caused by three factors: lack of adequate facilities, paucity of job opportunities, and the economic aspect.
But he added that of late, he had noticed that the craze for employment in foreign lands had decreased, largely because attractive job opportunities were being created within the country.
The minister noted that India had earned a name in higher education and students from many foreign lands are being trained in different courses in Indian institutions.
But he pointed out that developing countries feared their manpower might become outdated in the face of fast-changing technological and economic developments. A mechanism would have to be devised to ensure that technology is updated in developing countries every five or six years to keep pace with global innovations, he said.
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