A team of defence scientists will be heading for the US to explore possibilities for joint R&D in critical military technologies, less than a week after President Barack Obama knocked Defence Research and Development Organisation off a no-business list.
The DRDO is hoping to forge partnerships in high-end defence technologies that were off limits to India since it conducted nuclear tests 12 years back.
The possible sectors for dovetailing efforts include nanotechnology for military applications, nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) defence and technologies for low-intensity conflict, DRDO’s chief controller (R&D) W Selvamurthy said.
The scientists, led by Selvamurthy, will hold talks with experts from the US Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to identify and exploit technology options and take part in a conclave focused on NBC defence and consequence management in Orlando, Florida.
He said, “The lifting of controls on high-end technology exports to India offers unprecedented opportunities. The ban had created an aura of negativity around the DRDO.”
Carrying out joint research into military uses of nanotechnology tops the DRDO wishlist, Selvamurthy said. Combat fatigues with silver nanoparticles, for instance, can decontaminate biological pathogens allowing soldiers to operate in the face of germ warfare. Carbon nanotube biosensors enable speedier detection of biological warfare agents.
“The global market for nanotechnology is projected to be worth trillions of dollars by 2030. We can work jointly for nanotechnology research. NBC defence is another critical area,” he said.
Until now, the DRDO was collaborating with the US only in soft areas such as life sciences, agriculture and medicine, as four of its labs were on the no-business list (US entity list) along with state-owned
Bharat Dynamics Limited and Indian Space Research Organisation.