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`
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
"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
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
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.