Don't extend Tejas deadline, Antony tells DRDO

Defence Minister A K Antony  on Saturday asked the DRDO not to extend the date of final operational clearance of indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft beyond 2014 and said there was no substitute for self-reliance.

Inaugurating the 37th Directors’ Conference of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) here, Antony said it will have to take the lead in achieving the goals of indigenisation.

An official press release said the minister asked the DRDO to conclude at the earliest the unfinished projects which were in the pipeline for a very long time.

“In this connection, he drew the attention to the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project and said DRDO must not extend further the date beyond 2014, set by their chief V K Saraswat, for the Final Operational Clearance of the Tejas for induction into the Indian Air Force,” the release said.

Antony asked the DRDO scientists to focus on priority areas and said the ultimate test of success of the organisation lies in the satisfaction of the users, the armed forces.
Antony referred to “some recent developments which have put the defence acquisition process under the scanner” and said “such incidents highlight the need to look within and make us realise that there is absolutely no substitute to self-reliance.”

“If our indigenisation goals are to be realised, the DRDO will have to take the lead in this regard. Other stakeholders, for instance, the services, the ministry of defence and private industry in the defence sector, too, must cooperate,” he said.

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