DRDO lets loose ‘missiles’ at armed forces
TNN May 27, 2010, 04.40am IST
NEW DELHI: After public bickering among Cabinet ministers, here comes the sharp divide in the defence establishment.
With PM Manmohan Singh, defence minister A K Antony and others watching, the faultlines that underlie the embittered DRDO-armed forces relationship erupted into plain view on Wednesday.
Defence Research and Development Organisation chief V K Saraswat, speaking at the National Technology Day awards function, tore into the armed forces for failing to overcome their “temptation” to induct the latest weapon systems from abroad.
This did not go down well with the forces, represented as they were by Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, Admiral Nirmal Verma and General V K Singh as well as other officers in the audience. Some officers told TOI that DRDO “promises too much” but delivers “too little, too late” and the forces are “forced” to push for import of weapon systems to maintain operational readiness.
“Some awards given today, for instance, are for Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, Nag anti-tank guided missile and Astra air-to-air missile. These are still not operational despite years, if not decades, of trials,” said an officer.
The spat comes just two days after the Navy chief held “a long meeting” with Antony to stress that it was high time DRDO got its act together, said sources.
Wednesday’s award ceremony began normally enough, with Saraswat listing out achievements ranging from launch of India’s first nuclear submarine INS Arihant to the planned test of the 5,000-km range Agni-V ballistic missile in 2011. But then, Saraswat let loose a couple of heat-seeking missiles. It’s grossly unfair to hold only DRDO responsible for the poor level of self-reliance in defence systems, he said.
“The responsibility should be shared by all stake-holders of defence ministry and cannot be placed on DRDO alone, which neither has the power to impose its products on its customer (forces), nor the mandate or capacity to produce
the developed systems all by themselves,” he said.
“Services also must understand that while the temptation may be overwhelming to field proven, state-of-the-art imported systems, they too have a role to play in the country’s economic and industrial growth. No foreign system can be customised to completely address our long-term requirements,” he added.
There is, of course, a lot in what Saraswat said. The armed forces certainly need to fully support DRDO to ensure self-reliance in critical weapon systems, the supply of which from abroad can easily be choked in times of crisis.
But it’s equally true DRDO projects cannot continue to be bedevilled with huge time and cost overruns.
The PM, on his part, said, “We should be able to acknowledge and learn from our setbacks. It’s a fact some projects have been delayed and others have faced difficulties during operational induction.”
20 Jul, 2010 02:56 PM
defence ministry and the govt should wake up from sleep. all the defence projects should be with foreign tie ups. regards .a.ravi.
27 May, 2010 08:59 PM
Its very essential to develop weapons indigenous. But instead of spending money and valuable time on conventional weapons which was already in use by other countries, our DRDO has to research on new kind of weapons which will give us upper hand in a war. Or our weapons should be next generation. All our weapons should be fully automated, computer controlled and should have some kind of artificial intelligence. We should prove ourselves and show to the world that we have capabilities in destroying enemy satellites and have the capability to protect our own satellite in case of a war which may give a upper hand in a war. We should have Predator UAV’s which should be more capable than other countries.
27 May, 2010 08:38 PM
DRDO is a white elephant eating away the Tax payer’s money. DRDO should be used only for research and Development and not for bulk manufacture as they simply cannot do it. For most of the employees of DRDO, it is just a past time job and none except a few work seriously. There is no team work and the employees and the management is just busy playing politics. There has been no headway made in the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Nag anti-tank guided missile and Astra air-to-air missile. These are still not operational despite having spent countless amount of money. Every time the Defence minister visits the DRDO offices he sanctions crores of rupees and there is no accountability. Until and unless the so called DRDO is made accountable, nothing will be achieved and there is no use in cribbing that the armed forces are encouraging foreign Arms and ammunition.
27 May, 2010 06:46 PM
Best thing is to privatise DRDO, we all know how government offices work. Most of the time goes in chatting, sipping tea, smoking, preparing tambacu etc. How will they produce cutting edge tech and time bound deliveries. With the best brains in the world we should put them to use in the right way and Private sector can only do that.
27 May, 2010 06:36 PM
Ok wise guys,
harpreet (chandigrah) replies to a.ravi.
13 Aug, 2010 02:52 PM
there are many Indian companies which have better research and development capabilities, and they can produce much better arms and ammunition.ex-mhaindras and the tatas, all they need is a chance and we need to give them a fair chance. pinika multi barrel rockets are good example of this.
Milan Dutta (Kolkata)
27 May, 2010 06:12 PM
Armed forces must accept that this missile was right on target
27 May, 2010 05:47 PM
Blaming is very easy.No doubt DRDO moves at snails speed because they dont have a time bound programme to delver the goods.There are also lot of personnel politics involved in assigning the projects.There are very good scientists in the organisation who are dedicated to their work.The output of DRDO has to be translated by the Defence Production Units who owe equal responsibility for it.Corruption is one of the major factors which some how creeps in and ensures that the quality desired dosnt come out.vested interest of beneficiaries cannot be ruled out.
27 May, 2010 04:57 PM
DRDO is a Burden on our country. we pay thousands of crores of Rs for our scientist who has promised this country that they will stop all weapons import.I must admit Mr.Gopal has rightly said DRDO is an elephant. DRDO is nothing but a same old Govt office where files are fed to termites and buried.
27 May, 2010 04:47 PM
Right name of DRDO should be Delayed Research and Defective Organization. To top that they act high and might like there developing something very great. To see that a person need to come to Bangalore and see wastage of Tax Payers Money.