Defence of science

The Indian Science Congress fails to address country's key concerns like health. Instead, it ends up becoming a forum for grousing about defence and terrorism problems

Published: Thursday 31 January 2002

Defence of science

-- "...Distinguished scientists, this session of the Science Congress is taking place at a time when our national security, as also global security, are facing extraordinary challenges from terrorism. The horrendous incidents of September 11 in the United States and the outrageous terrorist attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir legislature on October 1 and Parliament on December 13 are barbaric manifestations of the same challenge. The entire peace-loving humanity is today thinking of how to secure the world from this menace.

"In our national and global battle against terrorism, we look to scientists and technologists for help. We know that terrorist network have been trying to master advances in science and technology to pose new threats to the civilised world. The only way we can stop them in their tracks is by building even more powerful collaborative networks among all those government agencies and non-government institutions committed to defending peace and human values.

"Today , after participating in this function, I proceed to Kathmandu to take part in the SAARC summit. It is unfortunate that our neighbourhood in South Asia has emerged, in recent years, as the principal source of international terrorism and religious extremism. Since India has been its principal victim for many years, we have resolved to fight terrorism to the finish. We shall succeed in this fight. I have no doubt about it. Let no one have any doubt about it.

"I would like to appeal to all the scientists, technologists and academics in the countries of South Asia -- join hands to fight terrorism and extremism. Affirm loudly, for one and all to hear, that the function of science was to help, and not to hurt humanity; that the purpose of technology is creation, not destruction. Close your ranks to help the larger struggle to rid our region of tension and hostilities.

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