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India's Changing Innovation System: Achievements, Challenges, and Opportunities for Cooperation: Report of a Symposium
Turning to the private sector, Dr. Wessner pointed to the growth and the vitality of the India–U.S. R&D relationship in both directions and again stated his concurrence with Dr. Good, this time with her observation that industry had a capacity to get ahead of policy makers very quickly. Worthy of emphasis was that the day’s discussion had shown India’s potential to be far beyond call centers and other low-cost services. India’s diversity of very high-end, cutting-edge capabilities in different sectors—whether automotive, information technology, or pharmaceutical—was not often reflected in the press. Similarly, the area of cooperation among educational institutions in India and the United States was in need of further exploration, and this was an effort that the National Academies might well undertake.
Impressing on Americans the Need for Change
As a final point, Dr. Wessner signaled that while the two nations had real opportunities to capture, inherent in this quest was a challenge to change. Professor Dahlman and others had been right to emphasize that “things [were] going better” in India; still, according to Dr. Wessner—who apologized for the liberty he was taking with grammar—things needed to go “much more better.”
A related point, and one that Americans had a difficult time understanding, was that it was incumbent upon the United States to change its institutions as well, since those that had succeeded in the post-War period would not necessarily be the ones to carry it through the 21st century. Indeed, the current success of the United States is based on its past investment, and since the 1960s, the country had cut its national investment in R&D roughly in half. “That doesn’t seem to be investing for the future in the way we’d all like to see,” he cautioned, repeating: “We, too, have our challenges, and we hope to address them.”