Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday told defence scientists to speed up work on advanced technologies like hypersonic propulsions, unmanned vehicles and stealth machines to keep pace with current trends in warfare.
Emphasising that the country will leave no stone unturned to ensure requisite level of defence preparedness, Singh said keeping pace with technologies like smart materials, micro and nano technologies and robotics would enable India to contend with emergence and growth of non-conventional and asymmetric warfare.
Stressing that self reliance and defence preparedness was not a case of numbers or percentages, the Prime Minister, addressing Technology Day function here, said scientists should clearly define strategic and critical areas in which development of national capability is a must.
"We must pursue this goal with determination and long term perspective," Singh said as he voiced his government's determination to broadbase the defence industry in the country.
The Prime Minister's comments came after the country's top defence scientist M Natarajan said that his organisation the DRDO was facing "definite capacity constraints".
Natarajan said "it is impossible for DRDO to cater to entire spectrum of products and services required by army, navy and air force and spoke for more active private industry participation in defence research."
The Prime Minister said the country's resources, infrastructure capabilities and intellectual capital, in both public and private sectors, should be treated as national assests and carefully nurtured.
Natarajan also made a case for establishing and expanding capability in propulsion, navigation, sensors and special materials and said there was a crying need to invest heavily in basic research in universities and academic institutions.
He said till this stage was reached, India would have to do with strategic tie ups for specific armament systems with certain countries on whom the country can depend.
Touching on these issues, the Prime Minister said "development of high technologies is a complex and time-consuming
"However, with the long experience and expertise now available with DRDO and the industry, all efforts must be made to ensure timely deliveries of technologies and equipment to our defence forces," Singh said.
"Appropriate technological solutions to problems faced by our defence services will help optimise their combat effectiveness. It should also promote the well-being of our troops," the Prime Minister said.
He said the scientific and engineering talent should be given all encouragement by providing a world class environment with state-of-the-art R&D facilities to nurture creativity and innovation.
At the same time, Singh stressed on the need to encourage the development of private-public partnerships based on sound business and financial criteria.
"This will ensure that critical products and systems are available at affordable cost," he said. The Prime Minister said currently the country's economy could sustain greater investments in the area of defence research and development.
Any greater investment, Singh said would raise expectations that India attains greater achievement and levels of self-reliance to safeguard our security and independence.
He said India's internal priorities and external policies are closely linked and seek an international order that is stable, just and conducive to meeting the challenges of poverty alleviation, unemployment and inequalities.
"We seek a harmonious environment in our neighbourhood and a web of linkages that facilities mutually beneficial cooperation," he said.
Patting the country's scientists and engineers for the recent successful launch of Agni-III missile, the Prime Minister said this indicated "our technological strength."
"There have been noteworthy achievements in other areas," he said and listed out integration of weapons and sensors in the Light Combat Aircraft in its road to operational clearance.
Singh said the production of first squadron of the Light Combat Aircraft has been taken up concurrently. Crucial steps have also been taken in electronic warfare, radar and communication systems, materials technology and the life sciences, Singh said.
The Prime Minister also had words of praise for the Indo-Russian Joint Venture BrahMos, saying "it is a shining example of international cooperation in the area of defence technology".