Antony Asks Pvt, Public Sectors to Pool Resources in Defence R

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (UNI) With increasing globalisation and cooperation across international borders for the development of defence products, Defence Minister A K Antony today called upon the private and public sectors to pool resources in defence Research&Development.

''Collaborative and networked defence R&D can go a long way in enabling the nation address technology gaps, match global standards and promote indigenisation,'' the Minister told the inaugural session of a two-day National Seminar on Defence R&D and Technology Management here.

The National Seminar, he observed, came at ''a most opportune moment'' when serious initiatives were being taken by the Government towards strengthening the defence R&D base through the increased involvement of all players, whether private or public, Indian or foreign.

Minister Antony further commended the organisers of the seminar, the Society of Defence Technologists (SODET), as a forum of defence technologists and industries which had made significant contributions towards pooling of technological resources by organising various seminars, workshops and symposia covering themes such as corporate strategies, manufacturing technologies, intellectual property rights and the like.

The Defence Minister said the dizzying pace of the remarkable technological and scientific revolution and the exponential growth of technology and information made it all the more imperative that suitable instruments were in position to ensure that defence innovations reached their intended end-users, namely the Armed Forces.

''The ability to move with speed in response to innovations is what will determine whether a country continues to have a winning edge or not....'' Minister Antony noted with satisfaction that the seminar would have a session devoted to the subject of promoting the export of non-lethal defence products with the active support of the EXIM Bank.

''While India has so far been a major destination for defence exports, it is about time that we try to tap into the international defence product market... This is an area which warrants serious attention....'' The seminar will feature issues relating to the roadmap for Indian Defence R&D and Technologies 2025. Experts from India and abroad -- from Russia, France, Israel and Poland -- in the field of Defence R&D and allied technologies will share their experiences on the subject.

Indian delegates include Chief Executives/Senior Executives of Defence PSUs, OFB, Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA), Directorate of Supplies (DOS) and from the Private sector, Senior/ Middle level R&D professionals, Defence Production&Planning Managers of various Defence-related establishments, Senior Scientists from Defence Laboratories&Senior officials from Government Departments/Ministry of Defence involved in policy making and Professors/Academicians.

SODET is a Society promoted under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence consisting of Defence Public Sector Undertakings, Ordnance Factory Boards and Military Inspection Establishments with a mission to ensure 'Self reliant Industrial Support' to the Defence Services in the Country.

India's current budget for defence stands at Rs 96,000 crore out of which only six per cent -- Rs 5,760 crore -- is apportioned to Defence R&D. Defence Public Sector Units (PSUs) in India have a combined turnover of Rs 15,853 crore out of which 3.9 per cent (Rs 620 crore) is spent on R&D.

UNI DG SB DS1553

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