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High-level committee set up for restructuring DRDO

A file photo of Defence Minister A K Antony.

NEW DELHI (BNS): Defence Minister A K Antony has called for restructuring the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), by executing the recommendations of a high-powered committee headed by Defence Secretary Vijay Singh.

The defence minister started his second innings with the modernization of the defence sector. He discussed the security scenarios with the three service chiefs late on Wednesday and held a series of meetings Thursday to emphasise that cost and time overruns, as well as corruption would no longer do in defence projects and deals.

The minister also constituted a high-level committee under Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, with the three Service vice-chiefs, DRDO chief and others as members to “draw a roadmap” for implementing the recommendations of the Rama Rao committee report, which has called for a drastic revamp of the DRDO, according to The Time of India, Friday.

The report has also underlined the need for setting up more joint ventures with countries like the one between India and Russia for making BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missiles, inducting top-notch scientists into defence research, rejuvenating the research culture within DRDO and ensuring more private sector participation in the entire process.

Antony also said the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) would now be revised every year to streamline the acquisition of military hardware and software. India is projected to spend a whopping $30-50 billion for importing weapon systems and platforms during the 11th Plan period (2007-2012).

"The minister laid special emphasis on timely delivery of weapon systems and platforms as well as product support to armed forces," TOI quoted an official as saying, also adding that Antony asked the chairpersons of Defence PSUs, to ensure time-bound modernisation of their respective units.

Antony also reviewed the crucial projects of Indian Air Force like Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets. IAF currently operates around 60 Sukhoi-30MKIs, based in Pune and Bareilly and soon to be deployed in Tezpur. India has signed deals worth a staggering $8.5 billion with Russia for a total of 230 of these "air dominance" fighters.

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