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Will focus on cutting military imports, says new DRDO chairman

New DRDO chairman, G Satheesh Reddy, has been a strong proponent of easing restrictions on military exports and giving incentives to the private sector to build manufacturing facilities and pursue research and development.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2018 23:36 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
DRDO chairman,Satheesh Reddy,DRDO
G Satheesh Reddy speaking in Noida.(Burhaan Kinu/HT File PHOTO)

On a day he was named the new chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), G Satheesh Reddy said his top priorities would include reducing military imports and supporting the export of locally produced weapons and systems in a big way.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on Saturday appointed the eminent scientist to the post of Secretary, Department of Defence Research and chairman, DRDO, for two years. Defence secretary Sanjay Mitra was given additional charge of the post for three months after the previous DRDO chief S Christopher retired on May 28. Currently, Reddy is the scientific adviser to the defence minister, a charge he was given in June 2015.

“My focus areas will cover developing indigenous weapon technologies and encouraging the industry to come up with products that are competitive at the international level. That’s how we can cut imports and boost exports,” the 54-year-old told Hindustan Times.

He is a specialist in avionics and missile systems.

One of the topmost challenges that Reddy will face as chief of India’s premier defence research agency is to ensure that the DRDO meets the timelines for the development of key military technologies.

Reddy has been a strong proponent of easing restrictions on military exports and giving incentives to the private sector to build manufacturing facilities and pursue research and development.

India is the world’s biggest importer of weapons, dependent on foreign suppliers for 65%-70% of its military requirements.

India was the world’s largest weapons importer during 2013-2017, according to a March 2018 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Russia, the country’s top arms supplier, accounted for 62% of India’s arms imports in 2013–17, followed by the US (15%) and Israel (11%). India spent more than $100 billion on buying new weapons and systems during 2008-17.

The DRDO was set up in 1958 to develop indigenous military technology and cut back on arms imports.

First Published: Aug 25, 2018 23:32 IST