Government to have a sec­ond look at de­fence pro­cure­ments


De­fence Min­is­ter A.K. Antony has said speedy indi­geni­sa­tion in de­fence pro­duc­tion is es­sen­tial to elim­i­nate cor­rup­tion in pro­cure­ment process. Ad­dress­ing the Sec­ond In­ter­na­tional Sem­i­nar on Army Air De­fence, Antony said the armed forces, the government, the DRDO, the in­dus­try—both pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor should come to­gether in a mis­sion mode so that the coun­try can achieve max­i­mum for indi­geni­sa­tion in a rea­son­able frame­work of time. He as­sured that the government would pro­vide all sup­port re­quired to achieve this ob­jec­tive.

Antony said the government is go­ing to have a sec­ond look at both the De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure and the De­fence Pro­duc­tion Pol­icy and amend it in a man­ner so that the in­dus­try can take more in­ter­est in de­fence pro­duc­tion.

Re­fer­ring to the re­cent al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion in a de­fence deal, Antony said the government had taken strin­gent ac­tion against six com­pa­nies which had re­sorted to un­eth­i­cal prac­tices in se­cur­ing other de­fence con­tracts. He said it is re­gret­table that lessons have not been learned from that episode. Antony said the coun­try can’t af­ford to lose poor tax­pay­ers’ money for greedy play­ers in the field.

The Min­is­ter had a word of ad­vice to the armed forces. He said while draw­ing up the list of prod­ucts for their op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments, the Ser­vices should look at the avail­abil­ity of the same in the coun­try first. “Im­ports should be the last re­sort,” he said. The Min­is­ter added that the pub­lic and the pri­vate sec­tors have to syn­er­gise their com­pe­ten­cies in cre­at­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties for tech­nolo­gies in niche ar­eas. This would pro­mote self-re­liance and fos­ter our en­deav­our to­wards mod­erni­sa­tion. It is im­por­tant that the pri­vate sec­tor emerges as a ma­jor player, fully geared to meet var­i­ous op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments of our armed forces with req­ui­site knowl­edge, ex­per­tise and where­withal. It is ex­tremely rel­e­vant to ap­pre­ci­ate each other’s con­cerns, strengths and op­por­tu­ni­ties which are thrown up in this process. A strong and vi­brant part­ner­ship be­tween the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor is cru­cial for de­liv­er­ing the much-needed de­fence tech­no­log­i­cal upgra­da­tion.

Antony said, our domestic de­fence in­dus­try is at a take-off stage. We need col­lab­o­ra­tion at the global level to lever­age the ben­e­fits of the lat­est avail­able tech­nolo­gies. Government’s pol­icy on Off­set is ex­pected to fa­cil­i­tate this. “I would urge the in­dus­try to come for­ward and take ad­van­tage of this pol­icy.”

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