Set up agency to steer defence R&D, recommends Naresh Chandra Task Force on national security NEW DELHI: The Naresh Chandra Task Force on national security has recommended that the chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) should not be the scientific advisor to the Raksha Mantri (SA to RM). In a statement of its no-confidence in DRDO, the panel has suggested the setting up of a new agency for steering futuristic military research. The committee has recommended the setting up of an Advanced Projects Agency (APA) to undertake high-risk futuristic military research. The APA must be chaired by the SA to RM, it says. "This institution's aim will be akin, though not necessarily identical to China's 863 programme, or the work of DARPA in the United states," the report says. The APA will "identify, fund and guide cutting edge projects relating to the country's futuristic security requirements. The SA must be assisted by UGC (University Grants Commission) chairman, DG of CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), director of BARC ( Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) and the heads of TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. According to the committee, APA would fund research in institutions like IITs, universities and private laboratories. "The APA will not be involved with DRDO, though it will encourage collaboration between the organisation and the sectors it funds," it says. On separating the post of DRDO chief and scientific advisor to Raksha Mantri, the report says, "The task force recommends that two independent officers should hold the appointments. One as DG, DRDO and secretary, Defence Research and Development and the other as SA to RM." "The SA to RM should focus on futuristic requirements of India's defence and strategic needs, while the DG DRDO must assume responsibility for managing the DRDO's laboratories and research centres and ensuring the on-time delivery of projects undertaken there," it adds. The panel has decried the failure of the defence technology and industrial base to deliver "badly-needed capabilities to the armed forces". It has also recommended the setting up of a sub-group on defence technology, comprising representatives of DRDO, military, private sector, academia, military and other stakeholders. The group will make programme to reach targets in developing indigenous design and development capability, besides auditing the performance of DRDO and defence PSUs for their performance and accountability.