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Home > News > Columnists > A P J Abdul Kalam

Kalam: DRDO must be ready for new challenges

February 28, 2007

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I have been with the Defence Research and Development Organisation for nearly two decades in different capacities and have shared many dreams and problems and possible solutions with all of you. I am not going to give a lecture to you today.

However, I would like to interact and work with you today for the next 40 minutes. What can be the mission of DRDO with the prevailing dynamic conditions within the country and abroad?

The whole world of warfare is dynamically changing. On one side we have missiles and other weapons. On the other side there are proxy wars, cyber war threats and different forms of low intensity warfare. When India is growing economically at a fast rate many of our economic interests become soft targets.

During the last few decades, the emphasis in warfare has shifted away from high intensity conventional war to prolonged low intensity conflict in all regions of the world. DRDO has acquired sufficient technological and administrative manpower and technological expertise during the last five decades.

You have experienced success, failures which has enabled you to create a sound base and you have learnt many lessons from the failures.

In my assessment, the scientific and technological output of all our laboratories is quite high.

DRDO functions under the following environment:

  • Users have an increasing budget for time-bound equipping and modernising the three wings of the armed forces.
  • The government has provided the funds to the services, with the constraint that it has, to be committed and spent within the financial year.
  • TheĀ  DRDO and the production agency put together, is not in a position to meet all the demands of systems involving large amount of outlay as considerable amount of advance planning is required for establishing the production capacity for DRDO developed items.
  • Since the international military equipment manufacturers are aware of the funds available to Indian Armed Forces, naturally, they are competing among themselves to get an order for a large share of the sanctioned funds available for given products.
  • In the present geo-political scenario, we should also note that large quantity demand for defence products and systems is projected from India in the entire Asian region. The developed countries' demand is fairly low. This introduces a new dimension for marketing DRDO systems to the services.
  • In certain countries, there is a system of mandate to their armed forces, that certain percentage of equipment has to be sourced only from indigenous sources. Normally, supply of 50 to 60 per cent of the overall budget is mandatory in these countries. We do not have such a mandate in our country. For this mandate to come into force, R&D and production complex have to get transformed.
  • These types of competitive environment in respect to DRDO and defence production manifest into multiple challenges.

The short-term goal: For five years:

  • Commitment to be made for items to be delivered to the three services by the DRDO and production partners.
  • DRDO can look for production partners from public sector and private sector establishments within and outside India.
  • The re-organisation of the DRDO and its partners is essential after every five years, based on the dynamics of organisational missions.

President A P J Abdul Kalam speaking to young scientists at the Defence Research and Development Organisation on February 21


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