Govt to set up new Defence Tech Commission



New Delhi: Government on Thursday announced setting up of a new Defence Technology Commission to provide a major boost to research and development and decided to go for the second generation of main battle tank 'Arjun' and 'Akash' surface-to-air missile.

The decision to set up the Commission with Defence Minister A K Antony as its chief forms part of a series of measures aimed at transforming and revitalising the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in form and substance, Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said here.

"A new Defence Technology Commission will now be established with the Defence Minister as its Chairman and supported by a Secretariat located at DRDO Headquarters," he said, quoting Antony, who approved the recommendations of a committee under former Science and Technology Secretary P Rama Rao that was set up in February 2007 to restructure DRDO.

After the committee had submitted its report to Antony a year later, another team headed by Defence Secretary was formed to study the report and submit recommendations for implementation.

The government has also given its nod to development of second generation of main battle tank 'Arjun' and 'Akash' surface-to-air missile by DRDO.

With Arjun's performance in the comparative trials with Russian T-90 tanks coming in for praise and it proving itself to be a superior tank, the decision to go in for a second generation Arjun Mk-II tanks is only an indication that the Army would be inducting more of these tanks in the future.

Already, the Army has placed orders for 124 Arjun tanks of which about 50 tanks were finally handed over to it last year to form a regiment.

Other key measures on which Antony took a decision include the de-centralisation of DRDO management and making it a leaner organisation by merging some of its laboratories with other public-funded institutions with similar discipline, interest and administrative system.

The Defence Ministry would now engage an eminent Human Resource (HR) expert as consultant to revamp the entire HR structure of DRDO and establishment of a commercial arm of the Organisation.

Antony also decided to continue with the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for design and development of combat aircraft, a continuation of the Kaveri aero-engine programme.

To increase private participation in DRDO activities, it has also been decided to select industry partners through a transparent process by evolving a suitable mechanism.

PTI