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DRDO, US defence labs collaborating for research projects


NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and American defence labs are working together on several research projects in fields such as life sciences, naval and cognitive sciences, the Parliament was informed Monday.

"Defence research labs of US department of Defence and DRDO are having ongoing research programmes in the areas of life sciences, material sciences, naval sciences, power and energy, cognitive science and human performance enhancement and war fighter protection," Defence Minister A K Antony said in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

On whether US has refused to provide dual use technologies needed by DRDO, Antony said, "As per existing US laws, all dual use items exported out of the country require an export licence from US Department of Commerce depending on item's classification."

He further informed that major foreign partners of DRDO include Russia, Israel, Germany, France, USA, Belarus, Brazil and Singapore.

"DRDO is having Research and Development cooperation including joint development of weapons systems and platforms (with these countries)," Antony said.

Meanwhile, replying to another query on whether the government is exporting products manufactured by DRDO, Antony said that "efforts are on to identify the products and to explore the possibilities of exports of the products designed and developed by DRDO."

"However, the first objective is to fulfill the requirements of our armed forces," he said.

Antony further added that achieving self-reliance in defence production is a joint responsibility that has to be met through national efforts by all government agencies and public and private industries.

"As per provisions in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), DRDO is concentrating only on development of strategic, complex and security sensitive system. It has developed a number of systems which have been inducted into armed forces," Antony said in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

He also informed the House that the restructuring of DRDO is being undertaken as per recommendations of Dr Rama Rao Committee to improve its functioning.

The Minister also replied to a query on number of scientists in the Organization and said, "Twenty scientists working in the fields of computer sciences, electronics and communication resigned from DRDO in 2010."

While, three scientists from computer sciences stream left the organization, rest 17 were from electronics and communications.

Since 2006 till March 2011, total 52 scientists took voluntary retirement from DRDO and the number of scientists employed with it increased from 7161 in 2008 to 7854 in 2010.

Antony also informed the Parliament about the steps being taken by the government to arrest the attrition rate.

"Two additional increments are given on promotion to each grade and up to six variable increments on promotion is granted on fast track," he said.

DRDO has also introduced professional update allowance and fast track promotions through assessments. Opportunities are given to acquire candidates by providing them sponsorship at reputed institutes like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

It has also instituted awards for young scientists and scientist of the year in recognition of their services.

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