Split in ex­perts’ roles angers DRDO fra­ter­nity

The China Post - - SPORTS -

The de­ci­sion in In­dia to sep­a­rate the roles of De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) chief and the sci­en­tific ad­vi­sor to the De­fence Min­is­ter has not gone down well among sci­en­tists in the or­ga­ni­za­tion although the ap­point­ment of a direc­tor-gen­eral to the top de­fense re­search estab­lish­ment af­ter re­main­ing rud­der­less for three months, has come as a ma­jor re­lief.

Re­cently, S. Christo­pher, direc­tor of the Cen­tre for Air­borne Sys­tems was ap­pointed as the sec­re­tary of Depart­ment of De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment as well as direc­tor- gen­eral of DRDO while G. Satheesh Reddy, direc­tor of the Re­search Cen­tre Imarat (RCI) was ap­pointed as the sci­en­tific ad­vi­sor to the De­fence Min­is­ter.

Ear­lier, Av­inash Chan­der had held all three posts — sci­en­tific ad­vi­sor, DRDO chief and sec­re­tary of Depart­ment of De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment as did his pre­de­ces­sors be­fore the gov­ern­ment asked him to step down on Jan. 31. Although the de­ci­sion to groom young tal­ent for the posts in­stead of hand­ing out ex­ten­sions has been wel­comed, sci­en­tists, both in-ser­vice and re­tired, voiced their ap­pre­hen­sion about the delink­ing of the posts.

“It is not clear how Dr. Reddy will serve as the sci­en­tific ad­vi­sor to the de­fense min­is­ter since he would not have any role in DRDO. The or­ga­ni­za­tion is sup­posed to pro­vide lo­gis­tics sup­port to him but there are apprehensions about the ef­fec­tive­ness of the new sys­tem,” said a sci­en­tist in one of the lab­o­ra­to­ries of DRDO.

A re­tired direc­tor also agreed say­ing: “There is ap­pre­hen­sion that this post just might be or­na­men­tal with the real pow­ers vested some­where else. For quite some time, bu­reau­cracy has tried to wield more power in de­cid­ing th­ese is­sues and for once they seem to have suc­ceeded.” He added that Dr. Reddy, the youngest among those in the race and some­one who had a key role in de­vel­op­ing nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems will be sorely missed in DRDO’s pre­mier lab­o­ra­tory, RCI given his ex­per­tise in this field.

Be­sides other key de­fense pro­grams Dr. Reddy led the suc­cess­ful devel­op­ment of the 1000 kilo­gram-class guided bomb. As Direc­tor RCI, he led the devel­op­ment of avion­ics tech­nolo­gies in crit­i­cal ar­eas of in­er­tial sys­tems, em­bed­ded com­put­ers, con­trol, seek­ers, an­ten­nae, flight in­stru- men­ta­tion for var­i­ous mis­sile pro­grams such as Agni A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, Prithvi, Dhanush, As­tra, Akash, un­der­wa­ter mis­siles, Brah­Mos, Nirbhay, Helina, Nag, MRSAM, Pro­gramme AD - PDV in­ter­cep­tor, Two-stage Ship Launched Tar­get, to name a few. How­ever, a few are hope­ful that Dr. Reddy may be groomed for a greater role in fu­ture.

Both S. Christo­pher and G. Satheesh Reddy have been ap­pointed for two years for their re­spec­tive posts and the De­fence Min­istry un­der dy­namic Manohar Parikkar is ap­par­ently plan­ning a new avatar for DRDO. The ball had started rolling af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had drawn at­ten­tion to the long- drawn re­search projects of DRDO which of­ten de­feat the very pur­pose for which they were taken up.

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