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No pressure to match China's military might: DRDO Chief

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CHANDIGARH (PTI): There is no pressure on the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to match China’s military might, its Director General V K Saraswat has said here.

“There is no pressure. Neither in the past nor right now, there has been nothing of that kind. There is no pressure to have parity and rather the pressure is to excel in our own technologies,” Saraswat, who is also Scientific Adviser to the Indian Defence Minister, told a news conference.

Saraswat, who was responding to a question, said India has never been in any “number game” with anyone.

Addressing the conference at Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory here, the top scientist said that DRDO was developing technologies which would give the country a technological-edge.

“We need to have technologies that will improve our capability in terms of precision, load on target, mobility, in terms of taking on surprise attack, improve our surveillance capability...,” he said.

He said that DRDO had identified three major activities for 2010-11 which pertained to cyber space, space security and low intensity conflict.

He said 2010-11 had been declared as the year of collaboration with academicia, industry and the countries willing to partner and collaborate with DRDO.

He spelt out how small innovative technologies can be of great help to the forces fighting terrorism and naxalism.

"Our laboratory at Pune is developing a technology in which a vehicle will be fitted with sensors to detect an area laid with mines. We should be able to perfect it within next 18 months," he said.

On cyber security, he said though defence of the country had its independent network and was not vulnerable like the nation's banking system or rail reservation system would be, they were working to build technologies and hardware which will secure these vulnerable networks from any attack.

“We are having tremendous interactions with academicians, institutions and the people from the IT industry,” Saraswat said.

On space security, he said that future wars would be contactless where remotely operated weapons system would take over and to secure command, control and communication network would be important in that scenario.

"We are gearing up in that direction as far as space security is concerned. We hope we will make major breakthrough in these areas," he said.

Against the backdrop of asymmetric warfare with increasing terror threats and insurgency, he said it has ventured into technologies to support security forces in the operations.

"DRDO now has very focused programmes on technologies for low-intensity conflicts," he said, adding they would come up with soldier-centric and customised technologies with his "survivability, sustainability, efficiency and lethality" as the focus areas.

On the low intensity conflicts, with counter-terrorism operations often carried out to deal with threat posed by the terrorists, he said "DRDO has identified 30-35 activities which can help the Army and the paramilitary forces deal with the situation in a better manner.”

"Couple of years back, we developed what is called chilli bomb, in which chilli powder is used to temporarily immobilise the terrorists. Another useful innovation is the laser dazzler, which temporarily blinds a person."

Saraswat also said that the DRDO was working on the mark II version of the Main Battle Tank, which will incorporate a number of modifications that have been sought by the Army and its production was under progress.

To a question, he said that Export Control Regimes were acting as a "roadblock".

He said that India has the capability to manufacture the best available systems but with such Regimes, it may only mean more time in acquiring a product.

"Our emphasis is on quest and self-reliance," said the scientist responsible for the development of the country's first Liquid Propulsion Engine. Saraswat was also the project director of the first indigenous surface-to-surface missile, Prithvi.


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