Defence minister AK Antony asked the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to take steps to become more competitive, warning that the only choice was to “perform or perish.”
Referring specifically to the much-delayed light combat aircraft (LCA) programme, the minister asked the DRDO to make sure that it adhered to timelines set for various crucial projects.
Speaking at the DRDO’s annual awards function, Antony said India could not afford to remain dependent on foreign equipment and platforms forever. “Our experience has been that foreign vendors are reluctant to part with critical technologies. There are delays in the supply of essential spares and exorbitant price increases.”
He said the indigenous defence sector could make huge leaps through joint initiatives by the public and private sectors.
“DRDO, armed forces and the industry — must work in tandem and develop trust in each other’s capabilities,” he said. While he lauded some recent achievements of the DRDO scientists, he was quick to add that they should not become complacent.