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Tuesday, Mar 19, 2002

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Defence labs offer technology for free

M. Somasekhar


IN a bold initiative, defence laboratories are all set to present their technologies to the industry for possible transfer with a no technology-fee offer.

In May this year, a majority of the 52 national laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation will hold an open-day, wherein Indian industry would be given free access to look at the technologies available.

If the industry is interested in the technologies available with any lab (except for select, strategically critical labs), DRDO would be ready to transfer it for commercial exploitation or joint venture, Dr. V.K. Aatre, Director-General of DRDO, told Business Line.

"We have already made this offer to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and also other industry organisations. The open-day would be before the Technology Day on May 11'', Dr. Aatre, who is also the Scientific Adviser to the Union Defence Minister, said.

In an effort to increase private sector participation in the defence sector, DRDO had a couple of years ago opened up eight national laboratories for possible joint ventures and collaborative projects. However, the initiative did not make much headway, according to sources.

The latest move assumes significance as it comes in the wake of the Union Government recently easing restrictions and allowing foreign direct investment up to 26 per cent in the defence sector.

Dr. Aatre who was here to participate in the Aeronautical Society of India (ASI) meeting said the domestic industry had to play a dominant role or else whatever research and development efforts done at the laboratory level would not be translated into benefits for the society.

The national mission programme on smart materials was being designed to ensure maximum participation of the industry. The response was encouraging and specific projects were being formulated, he added.

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