Former DRDO head passes away

Dr. V.S. Arunachalam, renowned for pioneering CSTEP and leading DRDO, passed away at 87.

Rishika Bhardwaj

Dr. V.S. Arunachalam / Image – DRDO

The former Director General of the Indian government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Dr. V.S. Arunachalam, passed away in his California home, on August 16. 

The scientist, aged 87, was well known for his pioneering work in founding the Center for Science, Technology, and Policy (CSTEP), Bangalore. He won the DRDO's lifetime achievement award in 2015 for remarkable scientific research and technology contributions.

Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister, expressed deep sorrow over his death, saying, "Dr. V.S. Arunachalam's passing away leaves a major void in the scientific community and the strategic world. He was greatly admired for his knowledge, passion for research and rich contribution towards strengthening India’s security capabilities. Condolences to his family and well-wishers. Om Shanti.”

Union Home Minister of India, Amit Shah also took to X, formerly Twitter, to express his condolences.“Saddened by the passing away of former DRDO Chief and globally acclaimed scientist, Dr. VS Arunachalam. He leaves behind a galaxy of accomplishments that contributed immensely to India's defence prowess. My condolences to his bereaved family and followers. Om Shanti,” he wrote.

A former scientist at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, National Aeronautical Lab, and Defence Metallurgical Research Lab, Arunachalam headed DRDO for a decade in the 1980s. He collaborated with Carnegie Mellon and Warwick University during his time in office.

Arunachalam's achievements were recognized with numerous awards. In addition to the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in 1980, he received the Padma Bhushan in 1985 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990. He also went on to become the first Indian Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK. 



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