Rajnath calls for India to be ‘net exporter of technology’ on Pokhran test anniversary

The defence minister stressed the need for India to become self-reliant

rajnath-singh [File] Defence Minister Rajnath Singh | Sanjay Ahlawat

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday on account of National Technology Day, hailed all those at the forefront of research and innovation to defeat COVID-19 and remembered the “exceptional achievement” of the country’s scientists in carrying out the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests, his cabinet colleague and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stressed the need for India to become self-reliant and a “net exporter of technology”.

National Technology Day is observed on May 11 on the anniversary of the 1998 underground nuclear tests that India conducted in the deserts of Pokhran, Rajasthan.

Speaking to scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) via video conference, Rajnath said, “There is no alternative to indigenous technology and indigenous manufacture. We will be truly self-reliant only when India succeeds in becoming a net exporter instead of a net importer of technology.”

Acknowledging the contribution of defence organisations in tackling the challenges posed by COVID-19 using state-of-the-art technology, the defence minister said, “DRDO has developed more than 50 products in the last 3-4 months, like bio-suit, sanitiser dispenser, PPE kits etc through its continuous efforts to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. The indomitable spirit of our defence industry has increased the opportunity for mass production of these high quality products in record time.”

On the occasion, Dr V.K. Saraswat, Niti Aayog member and former chairman DRDO, stressed that defence scientists must provide more focus on life sciences laboratories and must “revive work on bio-defence programme”.

He also emphasised on the need for the development of more “robotic devices” where DRDO has strong base.

Head of DRDO and Scientific Adviser to the defence minister Dr G. Satheesh Reddy said that during lockdown, products should be supplied all over the world. While adding that “delayed delivery is no delivery”, Reddy said that the DRDO has developed 53 products to fight COVID-19 and some of the systems were inducted in record time.

Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India Prof K. Vijay Raghavan said emphasised the need of developing IT enabled technologies and applications.