SA to RM's Speech on Golden Jubilee


    The year 2008 is a special year for all of us, being the DRDO Golden Jubilee Year.  We are today entering into 50th year of DRDO’s dedicated service towards nation building.  Since its inception in 1958, DRDO has grown multi-dimensionally and is today a major technology generator for the nation effectively meeting its mandate of developing and fielding defence systems for the Services and paramilitary forces.  Having established a sound ecosystem and supported by a large pool of committed manpower, we have today a proven competence to produce strategic and state-of-the-art tactical military hardware and related technologies, in diverse disciplines covering Aeronautics, Missiles, Naval Systems, Armament & Combat Engineering, Electronics, Materials and Life Sciences.


    Some recent successes have added a feather in the cap of this organization. The missile launch test of the LCA was the first step in the weaponisation of this state-of-art combat aircraft.  This was quickly followed up by flights with drop tanks including  transfer and litening pad.   The development program has involved the maximum number of national agencies and is truly a national endeavour.  The second was the successful test launch of Agni-3 our Intermediate Range Ballistic missile.  The third major success was the successful test launch of the Interceptor missile – the first steps towards setting up a missile shield for the country. These achievements have propelled India into an elite club of technologically advanced countries of the world.


     DRDO has also a number of other achievements to its credit.  In the field of Aeronautics, apart from the successful LCA program is the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Lakshya and Nishant, the modular avionics suites for imported combat aircrafts.  Secondly the Indian missile showcase consists of almost every conceivable missile viz, the strategic Agni and Prithvi, the surface to air missile – Akash, the anti- tank missile, Nag and the supersonic Cruise missile, Brahmos.  The Electronics systems category has seen the successful development of a variety of radars for every platform and service, the critical Electronic warfare programs of Samyukta and Sangraha, in addition to development in Communications, networking and information security.  Land warfare systems like the MBT Arjun, armament systems like Pinaka – the rocket launching system have been some of the other notable achievements.  While on the naval side the development of sonars and torpedoes for the services have been the major highlights.  Material science development has seen the indigineous development of armours, naval steel and titanium sponge.  Life sciences labs have produced critical systems for defence like NBC systems and protection systems for the man behind the machine.


    In the coming decade DRDO will focus on the development of futuristic technologies relating to systems like Multi-role Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, Integrated Surveillance, Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles, Air to Air Missiles Astra, Hypersonic vehicles, Airborne EW, Multi-Sensor Data Fusion, Active Phased Array Multi-Function radar, Unmanned Ground Vehicles, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles etc.


    The all important rapport with the Services has to increase manifold as also the collaboration among the DRDO labs and production centers.  The three involved agencies should close ranks to work as a team and strive for self-reliance in defence technologies.  There must be a strong sense of owning the system by all the agencies.   DRDO and the production agencies must now demonstrate rather than assure  the user services in delivering projects in given time-frame.  The way ahead is to increasingly involve the private sector corporations and business leaders in production of major defence equipments.  The participation of our academia must also grow.  It must actively play its designated role of seeding futuristic defence technologies and take up directed basis research in their colleges and universities.


    After 50 years of our commitment towards self-reliance in defence, we hope to consolidate all that have been achieved so far and organize ourselves for the coming decades.   As part of our aspirations for the next decade, we intend giving a business orientation to our operations.  We will focus on new vistas in International activities including joint venture, international collaboration and exports.  The joint ventures will have to be encouraged to bring in the transfer to ‘sunrise’ technologies into the country.


    We are conscious of the need to effectively disseminate successes and create greater awareness of DRDO’s tangible and intangible accomplishments.  We have to make an impact on society and the country’s scientific community in order to attract  and retain best talents.  In addition, the right ambience in terms of adequate flexibility of operation, autonomy, financial and managerial responsibilities will have to be offered to our scientists.   Besides advanced training, career and self development needs of the scientists have also to be met.   We will strive for the same.


    The Golden Jubilee events will include International Conferences, Exhibitions, Panel Discussions, launching of DRDO Chairs, inauguration of DRDO Centers of Excellence, Special Awards, publishing of DRDO Compendium etc at HQ level.  At the lab-cluster levels, there will be a chain of events like Lab-Cluster Conferences, Open Competitions for students, International Workshops, Lab Awards, publishing of Souvenirs etc.


     The Jubilee Year 2008 will herald a new chapter in the history of DRDO to reflect its rich heritage and look back with pride on the past achievements.  It is also time for all of us to plan for challenges ahead and highlight future aspirations.   A new spirit and a sense of optimism are evident in the DRDO family today.  Of course, we have to put in our best efforts whole-heartedly to match the new global ecosystem.  The organization pledges to transform itself into a highly cohesive, responsive and adaptive business house.


    I am confident that our young scientists, who constitute close of 60% of our strength, will bring out their best in initiative, innovation, knowledge, expertise and team building and management in doing DRDO and the nation proud.  Honourable Raksha Mantri, who has been a source of strength to us, has great expectations from DRDO and I have no doubt that DRDO enters the 50th year of dedicated service to the nation with satisfaction and determination to continue to contribute for nation building in the years to come,  may I seek this opportunity to seek your cooperation and your good will in fulfilling our obligations to the nation at large with dedication, zeal and spirit of sacrifice.