‘India’s tech revolution led by men and women under 27’

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : Saying that the US needs to wake up to the reality of India’s technological revolution being led by IIT-educated “young men and women under the age of 27”, President Barack Obama’s nominee for deputy commerce secretary said countries like India, China, Brazil and Russia were going to pose a major challenge to American dominance in the coming years.

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“Today, we find ourselves competing not only with companies of great capacity, but countries intent on establishing dominance in the growth areas of the 21st century,” Dennis Hightower, Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of commerce, said at his confirmation hearing Wednesday.

“Countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China — often referred to as the BRIC countries — are now employing aggressive industrial policies reminiscent of Japan’s strategic commitment to the electronics industry in the 1960s,” he said.

Referring to his recent business travels in India, Hightower said he was “floored by that country’s commitment to reinvesting in technology and the implications for the United States”.

Visiting “a veritable who’s who of global technology giants” in Bangalore, the would-be Obama official said he “was struck not only by the technological inroads being made in newly designed, avant-garde factories and laboratories, but also by the fact that this technological revolution was often being led by young men and women under the age of 27.

“By and large, these young people were not educated in the United States like many of their fathers — at MIT, Cal Tech, or Rennselaer, for example — but at the Indian Institutes of Technology.”

Hightower noted there are “projections that place the United States in fourth place over the next 15-20 years in terms of consumerism, manufacturing capacity, and the growth of an entrepreneurial base that keeps pace with new global developments and delivery systems.”

“This forecasted outcome, to my way of thinking, is unacceptable,” he said stressing “we must re-establish the primacy of the United States as the world leader in innovation, creativity and excellence across the global economic spectrum.

“If America expects to lead, we must put our best minds on the toughest problems — reforming the way America uses healthcare, consumes energy and educates our children,” Hightower said.

“America must now act with a renewed sense of urgency” he said, as “our global competitors are neither standing still nor shy about taking action to exert their global economic ambitions”.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])