Products developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) including a range of Missiles, Armaments and Ammunitions, Avionics, EW systems, Sonars, Torpedoes, Communication Systems, have huge export potential. In an exclusive interview, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO tells FE Online that products based on DRDO technologies are being exported by the industry as well as by the DPSUs.
Following are excerpts
During the recently concluded DefExpo, the concentration was on exports. What is your view on this?
Many products based on DRDO technologies has already been exported by DPSUs and Industry. Off late, we have increased our thrust on exports of different products and weapon systems, which attracted the attention of friendly countries. As premier indigenous development agency of defence technologies, it is our endeavour not only to build self-sufficiency for the country but also to become a net exporter of defence equipment as envisaged by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Have you identified what you want to export?
DRDO develops critical defence technologies and products to meet the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. The products developed by DRDO are world-class and have huge export potential. These products include a range of Missiles, Armaments & Ammunitions, Avionics, Electronic Warfare Systems, Sonars, Torpedoes, Communication Systems, Engineering Systems, EO systems, Life Sciences products and many more.
To further facilitate Indian industries for exports, DRDO has evolved a compendium of “DRDO Developed Products with Potential for Export” which will provide the necessary and handy information about the DRDO products, which are ready for export.
Are you satisfied with the response from the private sector companies to whom you have transferred technologies (ToT)?
We have transformed a number of private companies, from simple fabricators to Aerospace manufacturers through ToT and guidance in Quality practices. Now they have become handy in the development of new products as partners. Quite a number of them have come up with their own subsystems designs and manufacture as BTS vendors for many of DRDO programs and Joint Ventures. We are happy the way industry has grown in the aerospace and defence sector with DRDO initiatives and TOTs.
Do you think the recent proposal by the CDS of staggered procurement would impact Make in India initiative?
No, I don’t think so.
Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, StartUps – how is DRDO contributing to these initiatives of the government?
DRDO has conducted a competition “Dare to Dream” for startups and we received a very enthusiastic response. Selected top three startups have been given good prize money. We are at the forefront of ‘Make in India’ through indigenous development of high-value Defence products as we have recently showcased in DEFEXPO. To support the Skill India program, all our laboratories spread over the country offer internship and apprenticeship schemes every year for a sizeable number of technical graduates as well as technicians. We are completely digital in our transactions inside and to the outside world for procurements, payments, documentation etc.
Are the SMEs and MSMEs involved with the DRDO projects?
A number of SMEs and MSMEs are supplying starting from small components to subsystems for all DRDO projects from the beginning. We have nurtured them with development orders in Technological areas. Now they have become partners in all new developments. They are spread across all over the country. There is a government’s policy directive now to give some portion of orders to SME/MSMEs, which we are religiously being followed.