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Prime Minister launches 5 new DRDO labs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches as many as five Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) young scientists laboratories during his two-day visit in Karnataka, Bengaluru.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches as many as five Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) young scientists laboratories during his two-day visit in Karnataka, Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The labs operating in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad will each pursue a key technology necessary for developing the nation’s next generation of defence systems

Five new defence laboratories led by under-35 directors and young military scientists were formally launched on Thursday to drive the country’s war technologies of the future under the Defence Research & Development Organisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit to the State, dedicated to the nation the DYSLs or DRDO Young Scientists Laboratories that will operate from five cities across the country.

The labs operating in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad will each pursue a key technology necessary for developing the nation’s next generation of defence systems.

Addressing scientists at the DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment in the evening, Mr. Modi said the government would walk the extra mile with scientists to ensure India got the technologies and innovations needed for its security.

He praised the missiles programme developed by the DRDO as among the outstanding ones in the world and urged the scientists to give a decade’s roadmap where the DRDO would set the direction and pace of research in various scientific areas.

“The establishment of DYSLs will be a big leap forward for the DRDO from the goal of making India self-reliant to [making it] future ready in defence technologies,” a DRDO release said.

DRDO Chairman G.Satheesh Reddy told The Hindu that the labs are now formally operational. The new directors were chosen from within the organisation through a tough selection process across six months by a committee chaired by Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government K. Vijaya Raghavan.

There would be no fund constraints for the new labs and the new leaders get the same administrative and financial powers as the directors of existing defence labs.

He said the present labs did not have activities in the five chosen areas except for some work as in AI at the Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Bengaluru. Asymmetric technologies, for instance, will change the way the next wars are fought.

The trigger for the labs apparently came in August 2014 when Mr. Modi suggested that DRDO give its youth pool research opportunities that are challenging as well as decision-making powers.

The defence R&D establishment already has 52 labs that are working in seven broad domains. Explaining the need for the new labs, the DRDO statement said a country needs to have a technology edge in its operational, tactical and strategic warfare. Traditional ways of assessing and forecasting technology are not enough as it needs “unimaginable immediacy.”

”No longer can we wait to evaluate technology till it is mature for implementation and then make the investment. Young and agile scientists with zeal and enthusiasm are the key to match the pace of technological innovation and the nation needs to recognise their ability to innovate,” the release said.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 4:10:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/prime-minister-launches-5-new-drdo-labs/article30464735.ece

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