AHMEDABAD: India has come a long way in defence technology with indigenous projects such as LCA (Tejas), various missile programmes and finally building an aircraft carrier (INS Vikrant) on its own recently. However, most of the nation’s budget still goes to foreign coffers due to slow research and development projects and dependence on foreign technology in all three branches of armed forces.

What’s the way out? Dr A Sivathanu Pillai, chief controller for research and development atDefense Research and Development Organization(DRDO) and CEO and MD for BrahMos Aerospace, said that autonomy to the organizations involved can do the trick.

Pillai, considered to be the father of world’s fastest supersonic BrahMos cruise missile project, was in the city on Thursday to deliver Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Lecture at Ahmedabad Management Association ( AMA) on the theme of ‘Vision for India’s Global Leadership.’

In his lecture, he elaborated on India’s scientific achievements and the idea of how science will become prime catalyst in social change in decade to come. He also shared the idea for hypersonic reusable cruise missile tentatively named Sudarshan Chakra.

“This is BrahMos II programme where we have taken inspiration from Lord Krishna’s weapon. Going at a speed of Mach 7, the missile deliver the warhead, assess the destruction of target, come back and get ready to go again,” he said.

He also stated that space programme including Mission Mars will mark the new frontier of the country’s space power. “We have tried to harness the space power for broadcast, communication, education, meteorology and projects like tele-medicine. The evolution will continue as the country has successfully launched various types of satellites in orbit,” he said.

Speaking to TOI, he said that the BrahMos project, India and Russia’s joint venture, functioned like a private entity with full autonomy and thus emerged successfully as one of the best missiles around.

“We need integrated management systems with various groups working in sync. It is not fair just to criticize government in a sensitive industry; there needs to be a level of control over proceedings. The goal should be to spend money on research and development for indigenous solutions,” he said. He supported the concept of the military industrial complex that can look after all the aspects of defense technology ‘from mines to market.’

He also remembered Dr Sarabhai fondly as a visionary. He stated that Dr Sarabhai had encouraged him as a student during his visit at Indian Science Congress at Madurai in 1968. “For a boy, it was a huge encouragement. It was my luck that I had an opportunity to work with him for two years. He left behind a great legacy that makes the nation proud. We need such encouragement from science fraternity that can go to schools and interact with students,” said Pillai.


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