Former Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) director and scientist VK Saraswat has been appointed the Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The former DRDO chief Saraswat will succeed former ISRO chairman K Kasturirangan. Kasturirangan completed his term as the Chancellor of the university on March 30 this year. Saraswat, who has a PhD in combustion engineering, played a key role in the development of India’s first liquid propulsion engine called, Devil, according to The Indian Express. Saraswat has also worked on the development of rocket engines of Prithvi, Dhanush and Prahaar missiles. Saraswat has also held the post of Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, and secretary to the Department of Defence, as per Indian Express.
Saraswat, who was awarded the Padmashri in 1998 and Padmabhushan in 2013, has been appointed Chancellor for a 5 year term. Although Saraswat as the chancellor will be the head of the institution, his duties will only be ceremonial. He will discharge functions such as presiding over JNU’s convocation ceremony. Saraswat will not play a role in the day to day functioning of the university. Saraswat has been appointed at a time when a number of issues have created tension in teachers, students and also administration. Saraswat is currently serving as a member of the NITI Aayog.