DRDO Calls for Reduce of Defence Imports

By admin • May 26th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi – India’s Defence Scientist’s Fraternity has appealed to the three defence services to overcome their temptation to induct the latest weaponry from abroad and the premier defence R&D organisation alone.

Addressing the DRDO Technology Day Awards function in New Delhi on May 26th, the chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation [DRDO] Dr VK Saraswat said, “The [defence] services must understand that while the temptation may be overwhelming, to field proven, state-of-art imported systems, they too have a role to play in the economic and industrial growth of the country. No foreign system can be customised to completely address our long term requirement,”

Dr Saraswat pointed out that the DRDO cannot force the Armed Forces to opt for the indigenously harnessed advanced weaponry.

“DRDO has long been held responsible for the level of self-reliance in defence systems, but it must be understood that the responsibility for self-reliance should be shared by all stakeholders of the Ministry of Defence and cannot be placed on DRDO alone, which neither has the power to impose its products on its customer nor the mandate or capacity to produce the developed systems all by themselves,” said Dr Saraswat. “At the same time Indian Industry has not yet reached the maturity level to take up this responsibility on itself,” he added.

Welcoming the Defence Ministry’s initiative to restructure the DRDO following the Rama Rao Committee proposals and the Offset Policy to spur private sector participation in the defence industry, Dr Saraswat allayed the pitfalls of wanton import of weapons and defence hardware.

“We look to the recently instituted Offset Policy of MoD, which should be utilised to bring in high-end technology and quality manufacturing processes into the country and must guard against the pressures of high volume low end build-to-print modules,” he said.

Pointing out that the DRDO was always open to partner actively with the Armed Forces, Industry and the Academia, Dr Saraswat, however, sought more freedom for the DRDO to pursue its “primary aim of developing world class weapon systems”. “It is reiterated that DRDO must be given the freedom to choose a production agency based on their ability to absorb technology and carry out value addition after following a transparent procedure,” Dr Saraswat said, adding, “Commercial Pricing cannot always be the overriding factor”.

The DRDO chief said that the successful missile development programme and the development of the Light Combat Aircraft ‘LCA Tejas’ has given the country a strong base in the aerospace industry, so much so that most of the international aerospace majors have decided to set up R&D/production facilities in India in the last few years.

Dr Saraswat said the DRDO is also actively engaged in combating emerging internal security threats.

“The total production value of the major systems inducted into the Services has reached a (whopping) figure of Rs. 68,000/- crores during the last decade, with the modest R&D investment of about Rs. 3,000/- crores per year,” Dr Saraswat said, adding, “self-reliance index will certainly be enhanced with new major systems like MBT, LCA, Radars and Electronic Warfare Systems being inducted into Services.”

Presenting a roadmap, Dr Saraswat said the DRDO’s goals would focus on Space and Cyber Security, Hypersonic Vehicles, Directed Energy Weapons and Smart Materials, Composites and MEMS (Micro-Electromechanical Systems) -based Sensors. “A major R&D Programme on NBC (Nuclear-Biological-Chemical) Defence has been recently sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee on Security,” he said.

source: india defence online

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