Public private partnerships can be a viable model for research and development since private investors may be unwilling to wait for investments to generate returns in the short-term, former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation Madhavan Nair said here on Monday.

Dr. Nair was delivering the keynote address at the two-day Vision Summit organised by the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) here.

Dr. Nair urged electronics hardware manufacturers to utilise the expertise of established international players in the semiconductor industry in Europe and Israel to develop indigenous technology. “The strength of the Indian economy has enabled Indian scientists to develop indigenous technology for development in diverse areas such as atomic energy and agriculture,” he said. Many of these solutions, he said, “have been developed outside the military regime, by civilian effort.”

Dr. Nair said the country “had not invested much in electronics technology because of the possibility of cheaper imports.”

He said Indian companies needed to become global “leaders in the field because Indian needs account for only five per cent of the world demand.” He said photovoltaic technologies offer opportunities.

British Deputy High Commissioner of the U.K. in Bangalore Richard Hyde said the U.K. “hopes to become an important part of the growing electronics market in India.” He said the U.K. market for ICT products — at 171 billion pound — is the largest ICT market in Europe.

ISA Chairman B.V. Naidu said the Indian semiconductor market was likely to grow from the current level of $45 billion to $300 billion by 2020.

Referring to the fact that imports have “captured” nearly 80 per cent of the Indian market,” he said, “This is not a sustainable situation.” He said “special policies” are needed to encourage local design and manufacturing.