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Development of Military Technology of India-International Perspective


Avinash Chander, DRDO chief was removed on 13th January,2015 from this coveted post stating the reason tha induction of young blood is required to propel R&D activities at greater speed. Perhaps the same have been indicated by PM Modi during his address to DRDO scientists on 20th August, 2014 when he directed the DRDO to ensure delivery of cutting-edge weapon systems to the armed forces in time to keep India ahead in the national security arena and lackadaisical attitude will not work.Though the stern message was couched in mild language, the intent behind it could not be lost. Most of DRDO projects, ranging from Tejas light combat aircraft to long-range surface-to-air missile systems, after all, are running years behind schedule with huge cost overruns. . This indicates that Modi Government is not going to spare any lackadaisical approch in defence research and development. The same will be applicable to defence production units under Ministry of Defence and DPSUs (Defence Public Sector Units). Though Avinash Chander has earned good name in missile programme in India. But, international peer group and experts also see lacklusture in India's development of military technology. Given below is the view of international expert published in SIPRI specially about missile development programme.

Military research and development (R&D) in India is not progressing as rapidly or as far as its leaders had hoped and observers had predicted. The obstacles preventing India from developing a more advanced military technology base are primarily technical and economic, stemming from chronic problems with project management rather than any lack of scientific resources. Indian military R&D programmes have achieved some immediate goals but have not created the anticipated technological momentum that would allow them to move from limited import substitution to indigenous innovation. Consequently, reports to the effect that sophisticated conventional or nuclear weapons are easily or inevitably within the grasp of India or other countries that do not share India's scientific resources should be viewed with scepticism.

The Prithvi (Earth) battlefield support missile's role can be expected to be similar to that of the US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), but it is less flexible, being limited in particular by the decision to use liquid fuel and the Indian Army's limited battlefield surveillance capabilities at the missile's full range. Strictly speaking, the Prithvi system should include an integrated surveillance and mission planning supportcapability and is incomplete without one. Although the Army has accepted the first delivery of the Prithvi and is beginning field testing, it is reportedly reluctant to buy more than 80, given a procurement budget that has fallen by 17% in three years. While its role may be similar to that of the ATACMS, the Prithvimissile is more closely comparable to the Soviet Scud-B or the German V-2.

The Agni (Fire) missile test bed is a completely indigenous design. India's chronic problem of systems integration in programmes of this level of complexity have only been overcome in cases where there is foreign management assistance. Also, there is no service requirement whatsoever for the Agni, a significant barrier to its deployment in the procurement budget crisis. The Indian Air Force has not been given a strategic or nuclear bombardment mission for which it might use the Agni, nor does the Army require a missile with the Agni's range.

In view of same DRDO and DPSUs have to mend their ways and tighten their belts. It needs overhaul its organizational structure and change its organizational culture. Will it be able to meet the expections of PM Modi in delivering cutting edge defence technology in a reasonable time frame that is yet  to be seen.

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