Antony asks defence scientists to "shed old mindsets"

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Hyderabad, March 25 (UNI) Defence Minister AK Antony today asked the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists to 'shed old mindsets' and reorient themselves to face the challenges brought in by rapid pace of changes taking place in every sphere of life in a globalised world.

Addressing DRDO scientists after touring its cluster of laboratories here, Mr Antony congratulated them for the successful launch of the Agni-1 missile on Sunday which was executed entirely by the Army.

He also said the DRDO would have to actively increase its interaction with both the public and private sectors for technology transfers and R&D in view of the policy of the government to give the private industry an enhanced role in the defence sector.

''A major instrument to implement this is our offset policy which requires foreign vendors involved in large projects to actively invest in Indian firms and joint ventures,'' he said.

Mr Antony dwelt at length on the changing times and their various dimensions on security, economy and organizations.

''The political and economic dynamics of relationships between the countries, today -- both regional and global -- are constantly changing. On the one hand, this forces us to constantly reappraise conventional and non-conventional threats to our national security. On the other, the impact of globalization requires that we reassess and adjust to new economic relationships.'' The Minister said the DRDO could not remain insulated from the changes taking place around it and had to re-configure and adjust itself to the changing environment.

''Rapid advances in science and technology require that the DRDO adjusts its organizational structure and goals to new situations and new requirements and in the process shed old mindsets. It will have to actively increase its interaction with both the public and private sectors for technology transfers and R&D so that products which have civilian applications can be productionised. And all this without losing sight of the DRDO's primary mandate which is in support of the country's defence preparedness.'' He said the Rama Rao Committee Report which looked at these issues was under consideration of the government.

Accompanied by the DRDO chief M Natarajan and other distinguished scientists of the organization including Dr VK Saraswat and Dr Avinash Chander, Mr Antony visited the Missile Complex, constituted by the premier laboratories of Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Defence Research&Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Defence Electronics Research Laboratory, specializing on Electronic Warfare.

While interacting with the scientists, Mr Antony said that in the long run, India must reduce considerably its dependence on foreign suppliers for its strategic requirements. In this respect, he called for synergy among the DRDO, the PSUs and the private sector.

UNI MK AKJ RK2301

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