Antony for speedy indigenisation of defence systems

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Tuesday his ministry is all set to create an environment for speedy indigenisation of defence systems and platforms.

‘We are making all efforts to create an environment for speedy indigenisation of defence systems and platforms,’ Antony said while addressing parliament’s consultative committee attached to the defence ministry.

He also said that certain policy decisions were on the anvil to give a big boost to the defence industry and for the production of futuristic weapon systems within the country.

The meeting also reviewed the performance of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

‘DRDO-developed MBT (main battle tank) Arjun is being manufactured at Avadi and is in the final phase of delivery of 124 tanks. Army wants to have 124 more tanks of Mark-II Arjun. DRDO is now developing a futuristic MBT to meet the requirements of our army,’ Antony said.

Appreciating the organisation’s role since 1958, he said: ‘DRDO has played a prominent role in strengthening the country’s defence preparedness. It has developed cutting edge technologies, strategic and tactical defence systems and developed a dedicated pool of scientific talent as our national asset.’

DRDO is currently working on various projects like the light combat aircraft (LCA) and its engine, electronic warfare systems, long-range and medium-range missiles, early warning systems, nuclear biological and cemical(NBC) warfare defence systems, low intensity conflict technologies, radars and armament systems, among others.

The LCA is approaching its initial operational clearance scheduled for next month and for final operational clearance by the end of next year.

‘Since low-intensity conflicts are likely to be the norm of the future, the commitments of our armed forces are likely to increase in the coming years,’ Antony pointed out.

Answering a question on the future strategy of DRDO, its head and the scientific advisor to the defence minister, V.K. Saraswat, said: ‘The organisation will work wholeheartedly to develop technologies that are denied to us by developed countries. Those which are available will be bought by us and indigenised.’

During the discussions, the MPs asked the DRDO to reduce cost and time overruns for different projects. They also wanted the quality and workmanship of small arms to be improved and brought on par with global standards.

Among those who attended the meeting were MPs Manish Tiwari, Naveen Jindal, Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, Kailkesh N. Singh Deo, Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, S.S. Ramasubhu and H. K. Dua.