Foreign reliance reminds Antony of bitter experiences of past

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New Delhi, Jun 3 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today asked the Armed Forces and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to increase synergy to reduce ''overdependence'' on foreign nations.

The Defence minister said a country like India cannot continue to depend on ''one country or the other'' for its defence requirements as it had bitter experiences in the past. He said nations were unwilling to part with strategic defence technologies, or at best willing to provide previous generation tactical systems, and that too on unacceptable terms and conditions. ''In such a scenario, there is a strong need to optimise self-reliance in these areas,'' he said.

Mr Antony said India was now entering a new era -- an era in which we are not going to be only a buyer...''we have devised the policy of offset, the key element of which is transfer of technology. This will lead to a strong industrial base for the country,'' he explained.

Mr Antony was speaking at the meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to his ministry here today.

He also complimented the DRDO for taking a significant step towards developing ballistic missile defence when last year an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile killed a hostile missile off the Orissa coast. He said, with this, India joined an elite club consisting of nations such as the US, Russia, China and Israel who possess this capability.

Listing other achievements of the DRDO, Mr Antony said it has also developed tactical systems such as missiles and radars, electronic warfare systems, sonars, torpedoes, armaments, Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas', unmanned aerial vehicle, aircraft upgradation programme, Main Battle Tank 'Arjun' and 'BrahMos' missile.

Taking part in the discussion, Members of Parliament joined the Defence Minister in complimenting the DRDO for its ''dedicated and exemplary service'' to the nation for the last 50 years. They also made a special mention of DRDO's recent string of successes in missile technology. They, however, expressed concern at project delays and quality of some of the products developed by DRDO over the years.

Speaking on the occasion, the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, M Natarajan said development of strategic systems is being given highest priority by the DRDO. The organisation is also developing cutting edge technology in partnership with Academia and Industry. A power point presentation, giving an impressive overview of the DRDO and its activities, was made by Chief Controller of Research and Development Dr VK Saraswat.


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