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The Forefront of Defence Technology—A Talk by Dr G Satheesh Reddy

The Manipal Conclave kick-started their Talk Series for TechTatva’19 on 10th August 2019, with the first speaker being the esteemed Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Chairman of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Secretary of the Department of R&D in the Ministry of Defence, and Director General of the Aeronautical Development Agency. The talk was made possible with the collaboration of the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations of MAHE and the Student Council of MIT.

A stream of students of all years and branches filled the seats of M.V. Seminar Hall rapidly at a crisp 10:30 AM, with students being made to sit in the aisles and the doors being locked within the next ten minutes. After the arrival of the Director, Joint Directors, faculty members, and Dr Reddy himself, the session was ready to commence. Dr Reddy was introduced to the audience by Mr Arvind Kumar, the Associate Director of the Department of Geopolitics and IR, who gave a brief summary of the speaker’s education as well as his credentials and awards. Following the introduction, Dr Satheesh Reddy addressed the gathering, speaking about India’s advances in defence technologies and its implications for national security.

The talk began with Dr Reddy emphasising the importance of three main spheres towards advancement in defence, namely academia, R&D organisations, and the quality of production in industries. Dr Reddy proceeded to give a deeper insight to India’s current stance in military warfare, speaking about the country’s indigenous aircraft LCA Tejas, the Airborne Early Warning & Control System (AEW&CS), and self-sufficiency in recently developed radar technologies. He then gave a breakdown of India’s advancement in the defence missile sector with the Akash and BrahMos missiles, and explained in detail about Mission Shakti—a joint venture by ISRO and DRDO, wherein an anti-satellite test missile was launched on March 27th, 2019 to destroy an inactive satellite in Earth’s low orbit. The missile, that travelled at speeds of 11km/s, was accurate within 7 to 10 centimetres, proving to be a great success for the mission. India became one of the first nations to go from conceptualisation of a missile to its demonstration in a time span of less than two years.

The Chairman then delved deeper into the secondary aspects of defence, emphasising how attention to detail was also crucial to improving the quality of missions as a whole. These include life support systems, low-intensity conflicts, stealth technologies, autonomous submarines and tanks, as well as the inclusion of cyber-security, quantum technologies, and artificial intelligence—believed to be the fifth dimension of warfare. He further stressed on the importance of the material technology of a nation and the need for different approaches in weaponry to combat asymmetric warfare.

The talk concluded with Dr Reddy highlighting the need for innovation and brilliance in the younger generation via academic universities to further speed up the development of the nation. He urged the audience to research and innovate deeper in their respective fields. The inspiring conclusion was followed by a brief question-and-answer session open to the audience. After the interaction, the Director of MIT, Dr Srikanth Rao, addressed the audience and thanked the Chairman, crediting him as more than fitting to follow in the steps of late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. The Director then presented a memento to Dr Reddy as a gesture of appreciation. After a vote of thanks from the President of the Student Council, Archit Agrawal, the session was dissolved. Dr Satheesh Reddy went on to interact with a few graduate students from the Department of Geopolitics and IR, and also visited the Student Projects of MIT later in the day. Needless to say, the talk ignited a spark of innovation in the young minds present in the hall, inspiring the students as citizens of India to pave the way for the security and safety of the nation in the future.

Image Credits: Photography and Videography, MIT TechTatva