At the end of the colonial era, the new 'developing countries' adopted narrow policies based on military defence for their national security. But sound policies regarding food, health, energy and the environment are also important to a nation's development and security.
Writing in Current Science, Ashok Parthasarathi of the Centre for Science Policy Studies at India's Jawaharlal Nehru University, identifies ways in which India can apply science to each of these sectors. These include increasing crop yields with new varieties, addressing the use of harmful agrochemicals, developing renewable energy and producing effective vaccines.
To achieve these goals, India needs to do more research and development, says Parthasarathi. But, he adds, politicians and administrators have as big a role to play as scientists and technologists in ensuring that India's scientific potential is realised for the good of society.