Noting that China has got the major portion of rare earth's deposits in the world while India is scanted, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval Saturday said the country could counter that by converting its demographic dividend -- young population -- into an asset.
Speaking at an event here, he said India envisions to be a major power and needs to utilise its "rare human wealth" (130 crore population with 50 per cent of the population below 25 years of age as other major powers, including China, are ageing.
He was addressing students at a convocation event of Amity University here.
Doval and former Group General Manager and Country Head of HSBC India Naina Lal Kidwai were conferred with honorary doctorate degrees in philosophy by the varsity.
"These days we are wondering what is going to happen to the world that it comes in the change of technology, weapons, industry, business and we find that the one thing which is going to make the most difference is what you call as the 'rare earth' which includes radioactive materials, uranium and other high potential materials," he said, pointing out that China has got the major portion of the rare earths deposits while India is scanted.
Rare earths, an important, non-renewable natural resource, and alloys that contain them are used in many devices of everyday use such as computer memory, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting, among others.
"How will India, which envisions to be a major power of the world, compete in the world where properties like natural resources may not compete with the powers with whom we would like to be competing, not necessarily in a conflicting way?
"We have got one resource and that is the 'rare human wealth' of 130 crore people and 50 per cent of them below the age group of 25 years. Just imagine, if this 'rare earth' could be converted into those high-technology items if this 'human wealth' could convert itself into what is the real value," he said.
Having a huge, young manpower in itself cannot be an asset unless properly channelised, he said, adding that the present is the youngest generation in the thousands of years of the country's history to have a wide spectrum of opportunities.
"If the youth is not channelised by making them profitably employed, then that can be a source of great problems. They can be channelised if one possess the right capabilities and intentions," he said, calling on the youth to develop the knowledge, skills and right attitude to serve the nation.
He advised the students that the entire progress of life can be directed and evaluated by noting three important points -- right assessment in the knowledge of where one stand currently, focus on where you want to be and which path one must follow.
"The problem with Indian youth is that they spend proportionately much higher time by dreaming on where they ought to be in future, which is important but it is also necessary to focus on the route," Doval said.
More than 7,700 successful graduates received their degrees and diplomas at the university campus in Sector-125 here, Amity Education Group's founder president Ashok K Chauhan said.
(With inputs from agencies.)