After separating roles of the DRDO chief and scientific advisor to the Defence Minister, the Defence Ministry is now planning a bigger role for DRDO itself. The transition is likely to start with a revised offset policy.
According to a draft offset policy, which is currently being vetted by a 10-member committee, DRDO will play a central role in acquiring key defence technologies, creating an ecosystem and infrastructure for defence manufacturing within the country, much in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said the policy is likely to be rolled out soon.
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The proposed guidelines also chart a key role for DRDO in the transfer of technology. The draft policy also empowers DRDO representatives to identify components and subsystems that can be manufactured within India.
Interestingly, while the foreign vendors/ equipment manufacturers will retain their freedom to choose an Indian industry partner, the new policy will have DRDO oversee the implementation of offsets.
“The philosophy within the ministry seems to be that technology should be transferred to DRDO which in turn can retain the Intellectual Property Rights,” said Amit Cowshish, former financial advisor (acquisition), Defence Ministry.