Special Correspondent

Be prepared for highly technological fights, former President Abdul Kalam tells armed forces

Cyber wars will target economic security of nations, says Kalam

‘Key to India becoming a developed nation by 2020 lies in how the country fights back’

HYDERABAD: Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Saturday said network-centric battles in cyber space would replace conventional warfare and asked the armed forces to prepare themselves for highly technological fights in the future and saw a 10-year profile for the defence sector.


Addressing a gathering of senior defence officers at the College of Defence Management (CDM) here, Dr. Kalam said wars in cyber space would target economic security of nations and the use of conventional weapons, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles and even nuclear warheads would be on their way out.

The key to India becoming a developed nation by the year 2020 lay in how it got the strength to fight back.

“In 11 years, I see a great picture of how India is going to transform and it revolves around focus on agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and service sectors,” he said. India’s greatest challenge was that its East-West neighbourhood problems could well pull it into battle.

“A war may be possible by 2015 or around 2020 to hinder our economic development. So economic security is the important component,” he warned.

This however, could be overcome if every citizen excelled in his job in the race to become a developed country by 2020, when each of the 220 million citizens right now below the poverty line could be helped over it, education, health, sanitation and drinking water could be made available, he said.

Dr. Kalam explained how he was part of the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) set up in 1988 under the Department of Science and Technology to look into the future, assess trajectories and support innovation by network actions in technology areas of national importance.

In 1993, TIFAC embarked upon the task of formulating a technology vision in various areas and in 1996, the document of India Vision 2020, comprising 17 documents, including 16 technology services and one service sector was submitted, he said.

‘India can’

In the interaction with officers as well as students from various city schools, he made them repeat lines like “I can, we can and India can,” saying this would ensure that India achieved the goal of becoming a developed country by 2020.