Thursday, May 27, 2010

There is "Overwhelming" Temptation to Opt for Imported Weapon Systems in Indian Armed Forces: DRDO

Under attack for delays in projects, DRDO said the onus of self-reliance cannot be put on it alone and targeted the defence services for their "overwhelming" temptation to opt for imported weapon systems. In a strong statement here in presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief V K Saraswat said the responsibility of self-reliance was to be shared by all stake-holders but the Indian industry has not yet matured to take it up.

"The services also must understand that while the temptation may be overwhelming, to field proven, state-of-art imported systems, they (industry) 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," he said.

"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 defence ministry and cannot be placed on DRDO alone," Saraswat said at the DRDO's National Technology Day award function here. He said DRDO neither has the power to impose its products on its customers nor the mandate or capacity to produce the developed systems all by themselves.

Saraswat's defence came as the Prime Minister pointed out that some DRDO projects have been delayed and others have faced difficulties during operational induction. "It is essential that DRDO learn from these experiences and work more closely with the armed forces, as well as the industry," Singh said as he pitched for greater participation of the industry in the defence sector.

Tasked to develop defence technologies indigenously, DRDO is often blamed by the armed forces for not completing ambitious projects such as the Light Combat Aircraft and Arjun tank on time forcing the country to look at foreign sources for its defence needs. Saraswat listed launch of the first indigenously-built nuclear submarine INS Arihant, successful test-firings of the ballistic missile defence systems as few of the key achievements of the research agency in the recent past.

PTI

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