The Defence Research and Development Organisation on Wednesday came in for some sharp criticism from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over delays and cost overruns in key military programmes.
“If a project was conceived in 1992, it should not be the case that in 2014 we are still saying it will take some more time,” the PM said at a DRDO function. India, he said, had the potential to be a world leader in the defence sector but was being held back by a “chalta hai” attitude.
Modi urged the DRDO — responsible for the development of India’s military technology, such as aircraft, missiles and other weapons — to not only stick to deadlines but also stay ahead of technology and outperform global players.
“If the world is coming up with a defence platform in 2020, do we have it in us to deliver it by 2018,” he asked.
That’s a big ask for an organisation that took 35 years to deliver a tank to the army. The light combat aircraft, a project conceived in 1983, hasn’t got final operational clearance yet. “Even before we conceptualise a system… someone, somewhere launches it and we are left behind,” Modi said.
But the PM also tempered his criticism with some praise, comparing the scientists’ hard work to the ‘tapasya’ of rishis (sages).