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Your views are definitely very meaningful especially for us in the ADB. We shall endeavour to work towards making our engagements with IITs more meaningful Sir.Thank you and warm regards,
Gen Shankar has put centre stage, a topic that should have invited our attention, long ago. As DRDO and OFE's have had limited success in major defence technology projects, it was time to look at alternative talent pools to come out with fresh ideas, innovations and approach, to address our fault lines. We all know, Power can not be sustained on borrowed and dependent armament and technology. As we build our economic might we need to concurrently build our protective capabilities through an indigenous, state of the art, defence production capabilities. That is the only way forward. Gen Shankar has very lucidly offered, implentable suggestions that could infuse a new life into a sagging and neglected, industry. It is time to act, now.
General Shankar, you have started a very useful discussion. I must point out a few observations: 1. The researcher is a special creature, just as the soldier is. Asking each to become the other is not very useful, though of course better understanding of each other is useful. 2. In places where they were forced to think through this, because war was taking hundreds of thousands of lives (a situation that modern India has been spared, and may it always be so!) a system was developed, where each could do what they do best. This included an Office of XYZ Research where XYZ could be Army, Air Force, Navy etc. India does not seem to have a functioning equivalent. It is the job of the (civilian) specialist Program Monitors there to take the warfighter's needs and translate them into the BASIC problems for researchers to tackle. Where I ventured too close into operational realities, although others loved it, these Monitors told me very strictly: “Stick to basic research (or else )!” Unfortunately today these Offices and the discipline that they brought, are disappearing. Thus I knew what basic problems had to be solved: the precise WHY was not my business. This is the way that my work could be communicated to students and the world without secrecy concerns. The secret stuff was, well… done in secret. The trouble with everyone trying to be a Blue Sky Thinker or worse, a Venture Capitalist Startup, is that it is a gross waste of effort, just like asking everyone to become a Test Opener or a Movie Star. Hope this makes sense.
On the rest of the problem, one further comment: in my experience, it has always been very difficult to find out what would be of interest, and then to come up with a viable approach (never the actual solution: that came after years of hard work and thought!). But steady progress was ALWAYS essential, otherwise one could expect to be cut off. The meetings with the defence Review Teams and Boards were exhilarating to put it mildly, and by the same token, my alumni at all levels told me that the weekly 7:30AM Monday meetings were the most intense brain exercises that they ever faced. Yes we DID solve so-called “intractable” problems, quite a good number, where the “professionals” were stumped. But never by flash of luck or “brilliance”: always by very very hard work and constant perseverance.
THANKS FOR YOUR VIEWS. EDUCATED ME. CAN WE TAKE IT FORWARD?
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sorry General sahib but the ecosystem do not exists. when we developed and delivered under ATB a rover ( remotely operated vehicle) to cme pune nothing came out of it.
This is another part of the problem. In this case an organization actually seems to have gone far out of their usual comfort zone, found out what the customer needed (I am speculating) and actually gone through developing a system. From their point of view, a massive effort and source of great pride. But then they say that nothing came of it. Has anyone tried to find out “WHY?” Is the taxpayer's money so little value? Perhaps the system was not completely suitable – in some way. Was that taken forward? If not, why not? I can speculate on a lot of reasons but why have to speculate? The point is that processes for SUSTAINING INTEREST may be essential. Only the Services can actually implement that – not the IITs or others. Part of this is an ego culture: “unless it is MY pet project I will not care”. I would be curious to see if someone actually “takes this forward” as the General says (thanks!) and does the homework to see WHY the rover was not taken forward. Did lessons from testing it, lead to a more advanced version? Or is it sitting in a corner? Did someone new just come in and look at the Rover Equivalent, pull out the Foreign Arms Dealers catalog and call Admiral Romdoss or Nadkarni? Please post what happened. Unless this truth is investigated, there is no progress possible.
I meant “Rover Requirement”. In fact I do see that automated “rovers” are now in use in counter-terrorism in JKL. Great. Has the Indian capability to develop these been nurtured or are these from AliBabaOnline Shanghai?
General, I can only take things forward by writing and thinking to arrive at the truth and the best way forward: no Authority to do anything else. Let me know how I can help within that constraint. I appreciate your reading. In my very limited experience, I did “develop”, decades ago, a “track-powered air cushion transport system” for clean and efficient urban transportation. Demonstrated that it worked in the lab, much to the disappointment of the (then) IIT Dept. Chair and his retired buddy who were discussing their daughters' college education while I was presenting my “VIVA” and only woke up at the end and declared: “no no no no! that will not work”. But I managed to induce them to move their posteriors all the way to the lab where I demonstrated it working. The concept and my report were taken to the “relevant Ministry” in Dilli by my professor (now no more). It's only been 40 years or so, too early for the file to be opened. The concept is still relevant, and I think a lot more feasible than Shri Elon Musk's Hyper Tubes etc. It would only have gone at about 160kph, not 5000, of course. I was certainly not unique: there must be thousands of examples of other students and professors who “succeeded” in their part of the national mission. General, students and professors are inspired by example: Show that XYZ's Rover or Transport System was taken seriously forward in scale-up/ field tests, and the lessons documented, even if they are not “market successes”. This is all you need to do: the avalanche of ideas and good prototypes will come!
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