Avinash Chander
Director General DRDO and scientific adviser to Raksha Mantri Dr Avinash Chander and Board of Director BALCO Sushil Kumar Roongta during 3rd annual convocation Indian Institute of Techology Bhubaneswar in Bhubaneswar on Oct 18, 2014.IANS

The Narendra Modi government, in line with its avowed policy to make India self-reliant in defence production, prefers a younger person with an "urge for development" at the helm of defence research.  

This apparently is the explanation for removing the Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Avinash Chander on Tuesday, almost 15 months before his extended term on contract basis was to end.  

"I recommended that a person on contract should not be occupying such a senior position," PTI quoted Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar as saying.

He added that a younger scientist with the "urge for development" would take over as chairman of the country's main defence research organization.

The ACC headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the termination of Chander's contract with effect from 31 January 2015, without giving an explanation. 

There is clear indication of Modi's mind in defence matters. "There is a need to involve youth & soldiers in defence research for value addition," he had said last August, at a DRDO awards function. 

It may be recalled that in August 2013, Modi had expressed dissatisfaction with DRDO for delay in major projects. "The biggest challenge for DRDO is how to work before time. The world will not wait for us," Modi had said.

There is another explanation being given for the removal of Chander. Many indigenous projects including the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Nag missile, long-range surface-to-air missile project and the Airborne Early Warning and Control System have suffered cost and time overruns because of delays. But DRDO built a battery-controlled silver chariot with expensive materials for a temple in Maharashtra and this reportedly irked the Modi government.