Friday, May 29, 2015

S Christopher is new DRDO chief, but he won’t be scientific adviser to defence minister

S Christopher
FOUR months after the then high-profile DRDO chief Avinash Chander was sacked, the government has found a replacement in S Christopher, a distinguished scientist and director of Centre for Air-Borne Systems, DRDO. Christopher is appointed as new Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for two years, according to an order mentioning approval by PM-headed Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). But unlike in case of Chander, Christopher won’t be…
the scientific adviser to defence minister, thereby divesting the power that the DRDO chief usually wields. Instead, GS Reddy, distinguished scientist and director of DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat and programme director of MRSAM, DRDO, has been appointed as scientific adviser to Raksha Mantri (defence minister) for a period of two years, according to an ACC order issued on May 28.
With these two appointments, defence minister Manohar Gopalkrishna Prabhu Parrikar’s new team for the next two years is ready. Only on May 25, two bureaucrats -- 1979 batch Odisha cadre IAS G Mohan Kumar and 1981 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS Ashok Kumar Gupta -- took over as defence secretary and secretary, defence production, respectively. New defence secretary G Mohan Kumar who would have retired on May 31, is given a fixed tenure of two years. Only cabinet secretary, home secretary, defence secretary and foreign secretary get a fixed tenure of two years each.
It was speculated that the DRDO would continue to remain headless, at least for a few more months, when the government in an order dated May 25 assigned the additional charge of secretary, department of defence research and development, to new defence secretary Kumar “for a period of three months or till a regular incumbent is appointed”. Secretary in department of defence research and development is also the DRDO chief.  
In January this year, the termination of contract of the then DRDO chief Avinash Chander 16 months prior to his tenure completed, turned out to be controversial, as the missile scientist-turned DRDO chief Chander had no clue that he would be sacked. It remained a mystery why Chander was sacked even though there was no case (including that of vigilance) against him.

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