India has achieved “complete self-reliance” in missile technology and the most advanced missiles can now be developed in the country, DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy said today.
Delivering a lecture during an online event hosted by the JNU, he also asserted that if a country has to become prosperous and ”Atmanirbhar” (self-reliant), “we need to work on advanced technology” and that is where the role of academic institutions will come in a “big way”.
Mr Reddy recalled the decades of 1980s and 90s in the evolution of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and hailed the role of scientists, including former president APJ Abdul Kalam, known as the ”Missile Man” of India, who worked on missile technologies that provided a “quantum jump” in development of advanced systems and platforms.
He mentioned the five missiles — Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul Nag — developed by India under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
“We developed Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul, Nag under the IGMDP. Agni was also a technology demonstrator for the country in going out of the atmosphere and returning to the atmosphere.
“And, then we joined a select club of countries with ballistic missiles which can intercept an enemy missile and kill it. And, then many more missiles with long-range and more capabilities,” he said.
“Today I can confidently say that we are having complete ”Atmanirbharta” in missile technology, and we can develop the most advanced missiles in the country,” Mr Reddy said.
He also spoke about the anti-satellite (A-SAT) test that India conducted in March 2019, shooting down one of its satellites in space with an A-SAT missile to demonstrate this complex capability, joining the elite club of countries — the US, Russia and China — which have such capabilities.
The lecture on ”Defence Technologies for India’s National Security” was organised by the School of Engineering of the JNU, and its vice chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, several faculty and students also attended the online event.
Mr Reddy, who is secretary, Department of Defence R&D, also asserted that in the last six-seven years, he has seen various students and innovators, going beyond ICT, and choosing subjects like material science that will be important in the sector of defence technologies.
He pitched for academic institutions to play a larger role in achieving the vision of ”Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
“Today, if our country has to be self-reliant, if we have to become ‘Atmanirbhar’ and prosperous, we need to work on advanced technology and that is where the role of academic institutions will come in a big way,” Mr Reddy said.
He spoke of the centres of excellence that have come up at various IITs, and opportunities for students to work as a junior research fellow and a senior research fellow at DRDO.
In the advanced technology domain, he said, some of the areas in which DRDO is working include anti-drone systems, artificial intelligence, cyberspace, secure systems and communications.