Coming down heavily on the DRDO for its "lackadaisical" track record, a retired general has made a forceful plea for a complete overhaul of its structure and functioning and making it accountable to the armed forces.
"There has hardly been any equipment which the Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed in the promised timeframe and conforming to accepted parameters... Though it has been subjected to a lot of criticism, no attempt has been made to identify the underlying reasons for its lackadaisical track record," Maj Gen Mrinal Suman said.
Identifying the reasons for the "sorry state of affairs", Suman, considered an expert on offsets and defence procurement procedures, said the three primary factors for this was DRDO's lack of accountability, lack of focus and failure to develop a scientific disposition.
"There is total lack of accountability as DRDO is not answerable to anyone. Its director general is also Secretary Defence R&D. In addition, he performs the functions of Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister," Suman said in an article in the forthcoming issue of Indian Defence Review.
"Thus, he wears three hats. Therefore, no questions are ever asked. Escalation in costs and deferment of completion dates are taken for granted." He also claimed that DRDO has been "preventing" the import of urgently needed military systems on grounds of indigenisation but "not one promise has ever been fulfilled".
"No one has ever been taken to task for misleading the defence services, at times with grave consequences," he said.