The country’s next assembling centre for the prestigious BrahMos missiles will be Rajasthan’s Pilani. The State Government has already allocated 80 hectares of land near Pilani town, better known for its Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS Pilani) for this purpose.

At present the BrahMos missiles, a joint venture of India and Russia, are assembled in Hyderabad. There is also a Brahmos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited near the Kerala capital.

The Chief Controller of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Chief Executive Officer of BrahMos Board, Sivthanu Pillai, was here over the weekend in this connection. He met Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and promised to start work on the new centre at the earliest. He thanked the State Government for the allocation of land and presented to Mr. Gehlot a model of Brahmos missile.

Extolling Brahmos as the fastest missile in the world, Dr. Pillai told Mr. Gehlot that an investment of Rs.200 crore would be made on the new centre. The missile moves three times faster than the speed of sound, he pointed out.

The new centre would recruit about 150 technical experts and people from Rajasthan would be given preference in recruitments, he promised the Chief Minister.

It was DRDO’s proposal that a BrahMos project be set up in Pilani. It had approached the State with a request for allotment of land. In fact, eminent missile scientist and former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam during his visit to BITS Pilani in March-April 2007 to address students there had spoken about possible linkages with the students of the Institute and the country’s missile programme.