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New DRDO chief takes over, scientists hail appointment

New DRDO chief takes over, scientists hail appointment

New Delhi: Radar specialist S. Christopher took charge as the new director general of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and its secretary at on Friday morning, with the appointment being welcomed by defence scientists and officials.

Christopher was on Thursday night appointed chief of the premier defence research agency for two years by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

The DRDO was without a full-time chief for around four months ever since Avinash Chander was unceremoniously removed on January 31.

Christopher was heading the Bengaluru-based Centre for Airborne Systems and the project to develop an airborne early warning and control system before his new appointment.

Earlier, DRDO chief was also the scientific adviser to the defence minister, but the post has now been split.

Missile scientist G.S. Reddy was appointed as the scientific adviser to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for two years on Thursday night.

DRDO scientists and officials welcomed the appointment, saying that functional difficulties had cropped up due to the absence of a full-time DRDO chief.

"It is a welcome step; without a full-time chief cost DRDO in the last four months; impacted the work as coordination was suffering," a senior DRDO official told IANS.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently said that the absence of a full-time DRDO chief was being compensated with more powers to cluster heads.

A DRDO official, however, maintained that it did not solve the problem.

"Coordination between clusters is needed for smooth running of things. That is where the problem was," said an official aware of the developments.

A senior scientist, meanwhile, said that some tests also suffered due to lack of clear guidance.

"Some tests suffered because there was lack of clarity. There was no clear boss; it makes a lot of difference," said the scientist.

Officials also appreciated the decision to split the post of DRDO chief to appoint a separate scientific adviser to the defence minister.

"The role of scientific adviser must extend beyond the DRDO. There are other departments, like ordnance factories, which also need to be focused upon. This is a good move," a senior scientist told IANS.

"The DRDO chief and scientific adviser will have to work in close coordination though; a new structure is now expected to evolve," the scientist added.

Christopher's predecessor Chander held the posts of director general, DRDO, and scientific adviser to the defence minister, and secretary DRDO.

Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur was later given the additional charge of secretary DRDO.

Mathur retired on May 24.

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