Engineering colleges too have a role in giving solutions to the country's defence needs and it is imperative for them to undertake research initiatives in that direction, said A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Controller (R&D), Defence Research and Development Organisation.

“The dimensions of war theatre have changed and the technology of war is changing. Earlier, it used to be human-centric but now it is technology-centric where control, communication, computers and command play an important role,” he said.

Dr. Pillai was speaking at the inauguration of an international conference on Computers, Communication and Intelligence organised by the Velammal College of Engineering and Technology here on Thursday. Stating that the DRDO was looking at good engineering colleges, IITs and the NITs for research, he informed that Rs.100 crore has been earmarked for undertaking research projects through higher education institutions.

Major initiatives

In Tamil Nadu, the DRDO has already taken up research projects through the Bharathiar University in Coimbatore. He made a detailed presentation highlighting some of the major initiatives taken for country's defence preparedness with particular reference to Akash weapon system, NAG Mission, missile defence system, BrahMos and the Agni re-entry mission.

Urging the colleges and universities to come out with solutions for India's defence requirements through their research, Dr. Pillai emphasised that advancement of technology alone would give the capability. He lauded the Velammal College of Engineering and Technology, Madurai, for organising the conference that will give an edge to engineering students in understanding an important issue.

M.V. Muthuramalingam, Chairman, Velammal Educational Trust, in his presidential address, said that it is time to focus on the competency levels of students passing out of engineering colleges. “Lakhs of students have been graduating every year. But, if you ask how many of them have the required competency, it will be only 10 to 15 per cent,” he lamented.

Mr. Muthuramalingam said that higher education institutions will have to give importance to research and development for their own survival.

R. Murugesan, Vice-Chancellor, Anna University of Technology, Madurai, N. Suresh Kumar, Principal, Velammal College of Engineering and Technology and P. Alli, Head, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, were among those who spoke.

Nearly 200 papers are to be presented at the conference by delegates from our country and abroad.