NEW DELHI – The chief of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) says India cannot be self-reliant in critical defense technologies without the support of the military.
Addressing a DRDO Technology Day Awards here May 26, Vijay Kumar Saraswat called on the Indian defense forces to opt for homemade battle technologies.
The official Defence Ministry news release says, “In a terse statement at an award ceremony here today, he called upon the three Services to overcome their temptation to induct the latest weaponry from abroad.”
India imports more than 70 percent of its weapons and equipment, worth over $4 billion each year. Saraswat blamed the rise in defense imports on the preference of the Indian defense forces for imported weaponry and equipment.
“The services … must understand that while the temptation may be overwhelming to field proven, state-of-art imported systems, they too have a role to play in the economic and industrial growth of the country. No foreign system can be customized to completely address our long-term requirement,” Saraswat said.
DRDO has developed India’s nuclear-capable missile program, including the Agni series of missiles. In providing the growth path of the Agni series, Saraswat said a homemade intercontinental ballistic missile is also on track.
“DRDO expects to conduct a test flight of the indigenously developed Agni-5, the entirely solid fuel intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers by next year,” he said. “With this, DRDO would have given India a comprehensive indigenous strategic capability, available with only a few nations of the world.”