Dr Avinash Chander, the man behind the Agni series of strategic missiles, on Friday was named as the next chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Chander, who was earlier DRDO Chief Controller of Research and Development for Missiles and Strategic Systems, has also been appointed as the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister A K Antony and Secretary of the Department of Defence Research and Development. Chander who succeeds Dr V K Saraswat, a Padma Bhushan awardee who retired from the service on Friday, will take over formally on Saturday.
“I feel honoured to take up this new responsibility. Dr Saraswat has set the DRDO on a good course. I have to continue and take it to the next level,” Chander said.
In recognition of the scientist’s immense contributions towards strengthening national defence, President Pranab Mukherjee had recently conferred the Padma Shri Award, the third highest civilian award, on him.
He was behind the country’s strategies for long-range missiles and also led the design and development of Agni series of missile systems such as the 750-km Agni-1, 2,000-km Agni-2, 3,500-km Agni-3, 4,000-km Agni-4 and 5,000-km Agni-5, providing cutting-edge decisive strategic weapon systems to the Forces.
Chander was the programme director for the 5,000-km range Agni-5 missile that provides the nation’s capability to carry out second strikes deep inside the Chinese territory, including on Beijing and Shanghai. Chander had joined the DRDO in 1972 after completing his graduation in electrical engineering from IIT-Delhi.