New Delhi: The response from the defence scientists to the COVID-19 pandemic has been “tremendous” and that “this is the right moment to promote indigenous technology and indigenous products and we all have to energise ourselves and ensure the system works. There is need to develop products of tomorrow,” said Dr Satheesh Reddy, Secretary Department of Defence R and D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Speaking on “Self Reliance in Defence Technologies” on a web programme, he said that it is imperative to become self-reliant in defence technology and for this there is need to focus on “control on material and manufacturing completely. It is very important on the need to concentrate and work towards manufacturing capability.”
Dr Reddy said that it has been acknowledged that the country had become self-reliant in a good number of technologies during the COVID pandemic and gave the example of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is now being produced in quantities, and can be exported.
“The COVID response has been tremendous” he said, adding that during this period 50 to 55 products have been developed in a short span of time.
Apart from this, he said it is encouraging to see that more and more industries are joining hands in the defence sector.
“Industry has come a long way and from the 1980s when there were very few industries working in defence, today technology scenario has changed and there are over 1,800 industries working in the defence sector,” Dr Reddy said.
He said 975 industries have taken technology from the DRDO and modified and developed them according to their specifications.
He said the technology included a wide range of fields like avionic modules, radar modules, propulsion and electronics.
He said that the DRDO’s development policy has enabled it to work together with the industry.
DRDO has also encouraged many start-ups by youngsters in the last four to five years and these youngsters have been working in areas like drones, UAVs and core technologies.
“The government is encouraging these youngsters and DRDO has several schemes for the startups by these youngsters specially in areas like innovative technology,” Dr Reddy said.
He said it was with the view to encourage youngsters in the field of science and technology related to the defence sector that eight centres of excellence have been set up.
Dr Reddy was indeed immensely pleased to note that now many academic institutions have begun to focus on defence technology and started courses in this field like a university in Pune.
“We need a lot of students to work in DRDO laboratories with focus on defence technology related problems and this is important for what the country wants to do,” he said.