The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today complimented the top brass of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for their remarkable achievements in recent years, most notably, for Agni-5 and the BrahMos missile systems.
Inaugurating the 37th Directors’ Conference of DRDO here, Shri Antony said, these successes should not, however, make us complacent and the unfinished projects, which are in the pipeline for a very long time, should be concluded at the earliest. In this connection, he drew the attention to the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project and said DRDO must not extend further the date beyond 2014, set by the DRDO Chief Dr VK Saraswat, for the Final Operational Clearance of the Tejas for induction into the Indian Air Force.
Shri Antony asked the DRDO scientists to focus on priority areas and said the ultimate test of success of the organisation lies in the satisfaction of the users i.e., the Services.
Referring to some recent developments which have put the defence acquisition process under the scanner, Shri Antony said, such incidents highlight the need to look within and make us realise that there is absolutely no substitute to self reliance.
“If our indigenisation goals are to be realised, DRDO will have to take the lead in this regard. Other stakeholders, for instance, the Services, the Ministry of Defence and private industry in the defence sector too must cooperate to ensure quick, honest and transparent acceptance of the systems”.
He said, all the stakeholders must meet at regular intervals to undertake periodic reviews and suggest corrective action. Both DRDO and the Services must place more trust and confidence in each other’s abilities and work with close synergy. “The concept of block acceptance and spiral development that is being followed in most leading countries of the world must be embraced after due deliberations and required changes”, Shri Antony said.
Responding to the DRDO’s request for enhanced budget, Shri Antony said, allocation of funds will not be a constraint but at the same time, spending the money most judiciously and with all the transparency at our command must be your watchword. He said, continuous funding would be required for R&D to survive, but with more emphasis on indigenisation and self reliance, we would save a lot of money in the long run, although, we might have to invest more to begin with.
Others who spoke on the occasion included the Minister of State for Defence, Shri Jitendra Singh, the National Security Advisor, Shri Shiv Shankar Menon and the DRDO Chief Dr VK Saraswat.