Modi’s Defense Showdown: Armed Forces and DRDO on Notice for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ Mission

In a recent pow-wow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flexed his leadership muscles, urging the armed forces and defense honchos to pull up their socks and turn “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) into a defense manufacturing marvel. Apparently, he gathered the big guns, including Dr. PK Mishra, Ajit Doval, Gen Anil Chauhan, Admiral R Hari Kumar, Giridhar Aramane, and Dr. Samir V Kamat, for a top-secret meeting on January 13.

While the nitty-gritty of the meeting is hush-hush, insiders spill the beans that Modi threw down the gauntlet, demanding accountability in Indian defense planning. Forget the here and now, he said, let’s focus on the long game in defense manufacturing. The word on the street is that Modi wants a thorough audit of the military toys already in the arsenal before splurging on new ones. And no, it’s not a shopping spree – he’s after answers on how the forces deal with outdated gear and who’s footing the bill for expensive oopsies.

This concern is hot on the heels of a report from Prof K VijayRaghavan, the former scientific brainiac in Modi’s squad, who dropped a truth bomb titled “Redefining Defence Research and Development” on Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s desk on December 30. Spoiler alert: it’s not a love letter. VijayRaghavan’s gripe? DRDO is biting off more than it can chew, leading to cost overruns and tech dinosaurs before the goods are ready for showtime. The committee behind the report also threw shade at DRDO’s focus on the western neighbor (Pakistan) while side-eyeing the big dragon in the room (China).

But wait, there’s more! The committee spilled the tea on the lack of teamwork between DRDO and the end users, claiming they’re like a bad blind date – talking past each other. The report suggests DRDO needs more than a makeover; it needs a complete revamp. The takeaway? Modi’s not just looking for a defense upgrade; he’s on a mission to turn “Atmanirbhar Bharat” into a national security success story.

In the meantime, the armed forces are on the hot seat, accountability-wise, and DRDO is probably in the corner reevaluating its life choices. Stay tuned for more drama in the defense playground.

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