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Develop large defence manufacturing base in India: Antony tells DRDO

BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile which received the 'special Award for Joint Venture' at the DRDO Technology Day Award function.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister A K Antony Tuesday called upon the private and public sector to join hands to help India achieve self-reliance in defence production, asking them to set up a large, modern manufacturing base in the country.

He also asked the industry to have more confidence in the indigenous technology and the DRDO to reduce the long gestation period of its projects and cut down on time and cost overruns.

"The need of the hour is for all stakeholders in the defence sector -- both in the public and private domain, to come together to achieve self-reliance in critical defence technologies," Antony said at the DRDO Directors' Conference here.

"The industry must show more confidence in the capacity of indigenous technology. At the same time, the public and private sector need to come up with modern facilities with a large manufacturing base," he said.

Asking DRDO to strengthen its core competence and create newer ones, Antony said the premier defence R&D organisation also needed to "reduce the long gestation periods and cut down time and cost overruns."

"It is also high time that DRDO shed its reticence in working in tandem with the private industry. We need the maximum possible synergy between various production agencies," he said.

Noting that healthy competitive spirit was imperative for the all-round growth of defence sector, Antony said that customers world over were knowledgeable than ever before and they expected the products to be of high quality, cost-effective and better performing.

"It is therefore, all the more difficult to achieve customer satisfaction. In the context of DRDO, the end users -- our armed forces also have high expectations from the point of view of quality and technology," he said.

"We want our defence industry to further sharpen its competitive edge. This objective can be achieved by blending creative thinking and innovative approaches in producing high quality products and executing projects on time," he added.

R&D is a must for robust defence preparedness, the Defence Minister said adding, the industry and academia needed to play a far more proactive role in broad-basing R&D activities in the defence sector.

"We can achieve our objective of self-reliance only through greater investment in indigenous R&D. Besides investing in physical infrastructure, we also need to invest time and money in human resource development," he added.

Antony also asked defence PSUs and Ordnance factories, which possessed several modern technologies, to utilise the assets and make their products qualitatively better.

"We also need to reverse the trend of over-indulgence on imports. Our Offsets policy has been formulated to provide an incentive to export defence products. However, policies by themselves can mean little, till all the partners in the defence industry, including our armed forces, show confidence in indigenous capabilities," he said.

Earlier, Antony gave away the 22 DRDO awards for 2008 to its scientists in various categories. Dr A. Sivathanu Pillai, the father of the BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile programme, received a special award for the successful Indo-Russian joint venture. Visakhapatnam-based Naval Science and Technological Laboratory won the Silicon Trophy for its weapon systems and Defence Institute of High Altitude Research got the Titanium Trophy for providing health supplements for troops in Ladakh region.

DRDO Chief Controller Dr Prahlada and his team were awarded for path-breaking research in missile and air systems.

Technology Leadership Award was won by Chief Controller Dr W Selvamurthy for his life-support technologies, Dr S Varadarajan for radars, Avinash Chander for Agni missile systems and Dr P S Subramanyam for aeronautical development programmes such as Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas'.

Among the women scientists to be honoured were Tessy Thomas for Agni missile systems, G Vijaya Durga for Advanced Numerical Research and Analysis, Nabanita Radhakrishnan for aircraft mounted accessory gearbox for Tejas LCA and Meenakshi Gupta for fire safety and engineering applications in strategic defence facilities.

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