Bangalore (Agencies): Reiterating thrust on achieving self-reliance in critical defence technologies, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Monday that it is imperative for India to
be self-reliant by developing a strong technological base in critical technologies and alert 24x7 in the rapidly changing scenario.

"I do not think any country in the world, however friendly they are, would like to part with their most modern 'A' grade technology with any other. That is the reality," he said, inaugurating the eighth edition of Aero India 2011 International Seminar here.

"Until we gradually develop our own strong technological base in critical technologies we cannot say India has come of age," he said.

It was essential for all stakeholders, including DRDO, industry, universities,research institutions and other arms to come together. Such coordination, Antony said, would receive
government support.

He said while the success of Tejas, Akash missile system and unmanned aircraft Nishant, pilotless target aircraft Lakshya and airborne early warning systems were satisfying, "a lot more needs to be done to meet the needs of armed forces".

Need for latest techs

DRDO and the armed forces need to step up the quality and pace of interactions to develop latest technologies and the best products, he said.

"In the years to come DRDO must be in a position to significantly enhance the percentage of indigenous systems for use of our armed forces", he said adding that efforts to realise successful aerospace products in shorter time-frames through global cooperation must also be stepped up.

"Cooperation at every level-local, national or global is an absolute necessity for progress in technology, specially defence technology," Antony said.

Antony said India has chalked out a roadmap to develop many challenging aerospace programmes and expressed confidence of great opportunities, not only for indigenous institutions and industries, but also for all partners across the globe.

Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said DRDO has close to 800 industry partners for development of defence products and India partners institutions in 20 countries.

Clarity in collaboration

Harping on collaboration, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said there should be clarity on what could be developed in house and what would require collaboration.

Given constraints of infrastructure, expertise and funding, the way forward was to "indigenise with global cooperation," he said.

Naik said the aerospace fraternity across the globe "should reach out, cooperate and learn from each other".

This can be reduced through mutual cooperation," he said, adding, collaboration could reduce cost and help share risk. It can be a win-win situation for both.

V K Saraswat, Scientific advisor to the Defence Minister outlined all the development in the defence sector and called for "investing in innovation and development of technology".

Improvement in Tejas needed

Antony said some more improvements will have to be incorporated in the home grown Light Combat Aircraft Tejas to meet the requirements of the Indian Air Force.

"The Air Force wants some more improvements to be incorporated and I am sure DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) will be able to address these concerns too," he said.

Noting that Tejas has often been criticised for long delays, he said in most parts of the world, technological development precedes product development.

"However, in case of Tejas, we attempted both at the same time. The reasons are not far to seek. Due to denial of some necessary technologies, we had to find solutions the hard way," he said.