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Saturday, September 29, 2007

‘Developing sophisticated technology is feasible’

BANGALORE: Terming innovation the catalyst for growth and the key to a country’s progress, Vice Admiral (retd) Raman Puri on Wednesday said that “nothing less than a satyagraha is necessary” if India was to become self-reliant in technology, especially in the field of aerospace technology.

According to him the status of a country’s aeronautical prowess is a general indication of that country’s technological capabilities.

Speaking on “Strategy for Indigenous Capability Building in Aeronautics” at a function to commemorate the Foundation Day of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research at the National Aerospace Laboratories here, he said that the goal of self-reliance needed “will, structures and out of the box solutions, including public-private partnerships”.

Stating that developing sophisticated technology in India was not only feasible, but also cheaper than importing technology, Vice Admiral Puri said that even today the Indian armed forces were fighting with 70 per cent of armament from overseas.

“We cannot be a global power on imported hardware,” he said.

Though the Indian Air Force was the fourth largest air force in the world, it did not fly even one aircraft that had been designed and developed indigenously.

“If we are to improve our comprehensive air power, aerospace will have to play a big role. Look at China, they may have bought the Su-27, but they are also working on four major aircraft programmes. The Chinese have used reverse engineering, but have added Chinese science and concepts to it. We have to learn this fast,” he said


Calling for formation of a top level aeronautical commission that would steer indigenous programmes from concept to delivery, Vice Admiral Puri said that India could learn from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme.

“We can learn from the problems faced by the Aeronautical Development Agency in the development of the LCA,” he added.

He expressed the view that India must complete the LCA programme “no matter at what cost”. The Vice Admiral also stressed that India must follow up on the LCA programme. “Unlike the LCA which has taken us 20 years a new aircraft will take just five to seven years, and the cost will not exceed $1 billion,” he said.

Vice Admiral Puri, who retired as the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC), said that if India wanted to break out of the environment placed on it by the geopolitical situation and technology denial regimes, the only way was thought building indigenous capability.

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