Focus will be on tie-ups: DRDO chief Christopher

The Defence Research and Development Organisation is celebrating its diamond jubilee celebrations. DRDO chairman Dr S. Christopher who was at the DefExpo near Chennai on, explains the organisation’s plan to meet the challenges and requirements of the developing field. Excerpts:

The Defence Ministry’s ‘Make in India’ campaign focuses a lot on indigenisation of the assets and as a State-owned organisation, do you have specific plans to consolidate your efforts towards intended results?

We have been involved in research in three ways. Doing research on our own, aiding research and joint research. Academic institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology are experts in theory and we know how technology reflects on the ground. To meet targeted oriented research, we have revised our way of supporting these academic institutions. Earlier, we gave small grants to many institutions and now we are focusing on a few, but bigger grants so that the target can be achieved for the complete product.

Could you elaborate on recent collaborations with academic institutions…

The recent ones have been setting up the Centre of Propulsion Technology (CoPT) in IIT Bombay and IIT Madras. We have also joined hands with IIT Delhi and Jadavpur University. We are planning to collaborate with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru.

The DRDO had set up labs across the country to look for solutions for specific requirements for the sector. But, over the years, has DRDO felt any need for more labs to cater to research in any developing field.

The Mr P. Rama Rao Committee has recommended against the DRDO setting up more labs. But, without setting up more labs, we are expanding our horizons as and when we feel a specific field needed more focus.

The attrition rate and the missing of deadlines by the DRDO are two major issues often cited while reviewing the performance of the organisation. Your views:

The attrition rate has often been cited but that is not true. The attrition rate is only .5% and there are normal retirements. As for the performance, DRDO functions are on a par with the functions of the other research organisations in other parts of the world. Our aim and determination have always been to meet the deadlines and we have been taking every possible effort to deliver on time.


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