Lauding DRDO scientists for taking India close to self-reliance in missile technology, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said attaining self-reliance in the defence sector is not only of strategic importance, but also essential in terms of national pride.

Naidu, who was speaking after inaugurating two facilities at the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex here, said he was glad to note that scientists of DRDO’s missile cluster continued to maintain his legacy and have developed new generation state-of-the-art missile systems.

He also visited the Exposition of Technologies by Missile Complex Laboratories and said that he was elated to see the indigenous products, according to an official release.

Naidu said self-reliant technologies give a boost to local industry, generate employment opportunities and earn valuable foreign exchange.

Noting that the Akash missile system has recently been put into the negative list of items for import by the defence ministry, he called it a commendable achievement by DRDO. “It means that India is now self-reliant in this kind of missile system and so the armed forces need not import similar missile systems,” he said.

On the limitations faced by the country in having access to high end missile technology of developed countries prior to the signing of Missile Technology Control Regime in 2018, Naidu said DRDO had turned this crisis into an opportunity by developing a range of indigenous missile systems.

He said he was happy that India is now trying to shift its status from being one of the largest importers of defence products to one of the top exporters.

Observing that defence exports are still very low despite the recent seven fold increase, he said there is a lot of scope in developing defence technologies of export value. He urged scientists and technologists to not only identify the futuristic defence needs of the country, but also the technologies that can be exported.

Referring to the rapidly changing technological landscape, the Vice President asked DRDO to redefine its focus on strategic defence technologies and outsource activities which can be carried out by capable private sector participants.

He said he was happy that DRDO has set up eight advanced technology centers for research on futuristic military applications. – PTI