New Delhi, 03
the first time since Independence, India brought the leading lights
of its diaspora scattered all over the world on to a common platform
to discuss mutual aspirations and how they could help the country of
their origin. On the last day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Meet (NRI
Meet) at Pragati Maidan, the organizers FICCI had very appropriately
arranged for a group of progressive NRIs who had experience of
Defence, Security and Defence Production in USA to share their views
on how India could somehow improve and partly privatise the large
Public sector enterprises without losing control. The theme also
turned to how they could help lobby for India in the USA.
NRI explained that to get things done in USA the mind set of the
people in power had to be oriented. They also explained that the
bureaucracy of USA is formidable and decisions were taken by a three
tier system and the Congress and so Indians have to be aware of the
nuances. Foggy Bottom (State Department); Pentagon (the Military)
and the White House (President’s office) were all involved in
defence and security related decisions. The working of the private
defence industry in USA was also explained, as also the process of
technology transfer which was controlled by the Department of
Defence (DoD) that funds programmes to the Defence industry giants.
They suggested a similar model for India and showed willingness to
the Indian side each speaker explained in brief what was being
achieved in the area of defence. The list of speakers and their
views are tabled below briefly.
Chairman maintained discipline on speakers and stuck to time, not
allowing any waffle.
audience had defence journalists, members of the Services, MOD,
Intelligence, Government, arms dealers, members of PSUs, retired
officers, NRIs and all those who supply defence equipment to PSUs
and the Armed Forces. The slow decision making on both sides,
India’s outdated Officials Secret Act, which precludes civilian
participation and such other issues were highlighted, as
Technical Systems, Inc.
Chairman of the session Mr Marathe is President and CEO of Universal
Technical Systems Inc., an engineering and scientific software
products and customs software development company based in Rockford,
Illinois. He is also one of the founders of an Indian company called
Pune Software Park Private Ltd, which provides a state-of-the-art
infrastructure of software to exporting companies from its location
near Pune. He Chaired the session with strict time and humorous
decorum and moderated the discussions. His view was that India must
gain the trust of USA and give it a road map for what the Indian
Military Industrial Complex expects from USA and lay down
priorities. Only then would there be cohesive response and private
participation was his mantra.
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
Santhanam (63), is Director, IDSA. He superannuated from the Defence
R&D Organisation as Chief Adviser (Technology). He was the India
member in the Inter-Governmental Committee of Experts set up by the
UN Secretary General (1978–80) to report on the feasibility of
setting up a satellite reconnaissance system for verification of
compliance with international treaties. He is also a member of NSAB.
As the head of IDSA he touched on the India–US relations with
which he had vast experience and interjected to assist in the
question and answer sessions.
& Managing Director BHEL
Ramachandran is CMD of BHEL, one of the largest engineering and
manufacturing enterprises in India.
He is also the Chairman of FICCI’s Defence Committee. He is
on the Board of Governors of IIM, Lucknow; the Centre for
Organisation Development, Hyderabad and on the Governing Council of
Bharatidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirapally. He is a member
of the Quality Council of India. Policy Advisory Group of AIMA. As
CMD of one of India’s leading power company that supports India
Navy’s turbines programme, assists the ATV project and now
manufactures Gun barrels, produces the Otto Melara gun for the Navy
and Coast guard. BHEL is looking out for more opportunities, now
that 26 % FDI in the Defence PSUs is permitted.
VASUDEV K. AATRE
Adviser to India’s Defence Minister & Secretary, Department of
Defence R&D MoD.
Chairman Dr Aatre is Scientific Adviser to India’s Defence
Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence – R&D and
Director General Research and Development. As Director General
R&D, he directs 51 laboratories of DRDO to achieve self-reliance
in Defence Technologies that lead to the design and development of
weapon systems for the three Services. He is thus responsible for
the design and development of weapon systems for the three Services.
He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2002. Dr Aatre briefly explained
DRDO programmes and highlighted the successful missile programmes
and indicated that India had the capability to make ICBM. He looked
for new ideas.
Prasad is Joint Secretary and Head of the USC (United States and
Canada) Division in the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of
India. He joined the
Indian Foreign Service in 1976. He
was First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the United
Nations in Geneva. He
was Fellow at the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs,
Harvard University, Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights,
Geneva and UN Disarmament Fellow.
Controller – R&D
Natarajan is a distinguished scientist and Chief Controller of
Research and Development (ACE) at Defence Research & Development
Organisation (DRDO), looking after armaments, combat vehicles and
engineering equipment. He is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy
of Engineering. He also explained the India US technology status as
he has been a member in on going discussions and looked to advice.
ALOK RATNAM CHATURVEDI
Chaturvedi is Director of Purdue e-Business Research Centre,
Indiana, a consortium for e-Business Research. He is a Professor of
Information Systems at the Krannert Graduate School of Management in
Purdue University; and founder and Chief Technology Officer of
Simulex, Inc. He is also an Adjunct Research Staff Member at the
Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Alexandria, Virginia, a leading
think-tank on national security matters. He explained the US defence
technology aspects and how US does business with other countries.
RAJIV S DESAI
& CEO, 3Di
Desai is the Founder and CEO of 3Di Systems, a software services
company. Earlier, he managed a group of scientists and engineers at
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
He is the first person and the only Indian-American to
receive both NASA’s exceptional achievement medal for leadership
in developing new space mission for NASA and JPL’s Excellence in
Research Award. He brought with him a sample robot, which looked
like an oblong box. But when it opened up it looked like a crawling
animal with legs. Dr Rajiv explained how such robots which last 15
days could be strewn along the LOC to detect any movement. This
could be a cheap and innovative method in controlling cross border
terrorism. He and the Chairman Mr Marathe felt that such electronic
surveillance devices could, better police the LOC and International
border. Dr Sathanam explained how rats had chewed up cables in
systems along the International Border.
SHAILENDRA RAJ MEHTA
E-Business Research Centre
Mehta directs the Entrepreneurship Initiative at Purdue University
and co-directs the Purdue E-Business Research Centre (PERC).
He has done extensive research in the areas of
Entrepreneurship, Industrial Organisation, Information Economics and
Experimental Economics. He
is also co-founder of SIMULEX, a Purdue Technology Park company that
is commercializing the research done at Purdue University, the
startup works with several Fortune 500 companies and public sector
entities. He also discussed surveillance systems and offered ideas.
and BAe-HAL Software Limited
Mohanty is Chairman, HAL and BAe-HAL Software Limited, a joint
venture company between HAL and BAE Systems, UK.
He is President-elect of the Aeronautical Society of India
and Fellow of the Institution of Engineers (India) and Member of the
Advisory Committee of SCOPE. He
is a member of the Defence Committee of FICCI. He explained how HAL
had a mass of orders and had a turn over of approx. over
half a billion dollars and had given Government a dividend of
Rs 300 crore. He explained all the programmes and stated the ALH
which is to get DGCA certification will be marketed by Israel or BAe.
GEN P MOHANDAS
& Managing Director
Gen Mohandas is Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Dynamics
Limited which is the prime missile manufacturer with DRDO. He
explained how since he took over the company, he has reorganized it
to meet the future commitments and created conditions for acceptance
of new technology in the fields of missiles and torpedoes as also
for developing state-of-the-art futuristic anti-tank and air-to-air
missile systems. He was looking at support ideas and collaborations.
GEN N S MALIK
COS Western Command
Gen N S Malik came in as a FICCI rep on defence and was critical
that in many cases the User - mainly
the Army as he discussed, was not being involved in the research and
final development of systems. In this connection the Arjun tank and
rifles came in for consideration.
in all, the session was one of the first where foreigners sat down
with top Indians and discussed how the US-India defence industry and
its potential can be enhanced. Laced with it is the security
relations, which Americans who are actually Indians know about, and
wish to improve and enhance Indo-US defence business. It was healthy
and good to learn about the US bureaucracy and power centers.
however feel USA has a difficult job to balance its present ties
with Pakistan whose geography is tied with Oil routes and its
history with Islam and terrorism. India has a strategic relationship
with Russia and now Iran, even when USA is wooing Indian defence and
keeping it engaged but the larger India–US–Pakistan triangle
still has deep edges. Only time will tell how cleverly India which
is poised in a wonderful position post cold war, gets the best of
Russia and USA, Israel and France and keeps friendship with China
for robust defence. Till that road map is scripted the present
ambivalent situation will continue as India continues to be the
second largest defence importer in this region, and Pakistan goes
through big challenges and Iraq war looms large.