Antony Asks Private & Public Sector to Pool Resources in Defence R&D
(Source: Indian Ministry of Defence; issued Jan. 29, 2008)
Following is the text of the inaugural address delivered by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony at National Seminar on Defence R&D and Technology Management, here today:

It gives me great pleasure to be present here today for the inauguration of the national seminar on defence R&D and technology management organized by the Society of Defence Technologists (SODET). This seminar comes at a most opportune moment when serious initiatives are being taken by Government towards strengthening our defence R&D base through the increased involvement of all players, whether private or public, Indian or foreign. Defence R&D and its integration into product improvement and development is an exceedingly complex and exacting process.

This involves collaborative and network techniques so as to ensure that the output of research establishments are effectively translated into viable, state-of-the-art products. I am, therefore, pleased to note that SODET, which is a forum of defence technologists and industries, has made significant contributions towards pooling of technological resources by organizing various seminars, workshops and symposia covering themes such as corporate strategies, manufacturing technologies, intellectual property rights etc.

The value of these efforts cannot be under-emphasized as the challenges before you are not small by any measure. The variables which impact our defence preparedness and threat assessments, including regional and global political dynamics, are in a state of continuous flux, forcing us to constantly reassess threats to our security. All this is compounded by the remarkable technological and scientific revolution which began in the last century and is continuing at a dizzying pace. One estimate indicates that knowledge doubles every five years.

This exponential growth of technology and information makes it all the more imperative that suitable instruments are in position to ensure that defence innovations reach their intended end users, namely the Armed Forces. The ability to move with speed in response to innovations is what will determine whether a country continues to have a winning edge or not.

As we increasingly globalize and cooperate across international borders for the development and production of defence products, as the number of entities involved in defence material production and management grow rapidly, and as the number of players, particularly from the private sector, increase with the introduction of the off-set policy, it becomes all the more important that all players are enabled to network effectively. In such a scenario, collaborative and networked defence R&D can go a long way in enabling the nation address technology gaps, match global standards and promote indigenization.

This seminar, therefore, provides an ideal platform for the meaningful interaction of defence technologists and defence industries. I am confident that all of you will be able to deliberate and evolve more effective mechanisms for interaction amongst yourselves so as to ensure better utilization of assets and better R&D leading to improved products.

I am also happy to note that a session will be devoted to the subject of promoting the export of non-lethal defence products with the active support of EXIM Bank. While India has so far been a major destination for defence exports, it is about time that we try to tap into the international defence product market. This is an area which warrants serious attention.

I am given to understand that this seminar will also be focusing its attention on the formulation of defence R&D and technology road-maps for the next two decades or so. This would be most welcome in defining the milestones and goals which need to be achieved.

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