July 12, 2011 defpro.com
The Indian Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today cautioned defence suppliers and vendors that the government would not hesitate to take “extreme steps” if it detects corruption in an acquisition process even though the process may be at its last stage of completion. Addressing an International Seminar on Defence Acquisition organized by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) here, Shri Antony assured the vendors that they will get level playing field and fair play in the acquisition processes. At the same time he asked them ‘not to try to corrupt our people’. Going a step further, the Defence Minister said, “I do not want to be a party to any corrupt practice and will not allow even a rupee of Indian taxpayer’s money to be spent on graft.
Shri Antony said the defence acquisition in the country will not be propelled by political decisions. He said, up to the trial stage, technical soundness of a product will determine whether it will remain in race and after that it is the price which will determine its ultimate selection for procurement.
Shri Antony said, today the nature of warfare has shifted and challenges range from asymmetric threats, terrorism, internal disturbances as well as conventional warfare in a nuclear backdrop. On our part we need to develop the latest strategic and conventional capabilities. However, in our enthusiasm to modernize and upgrade our security infrastructure, we must not allow our defence acquisition procedures to be manipulated or corrupted. Our primary objective must be to stay competitive and yet remain cost efficient, as well as technologically and strategically reliable. For this to happen, defence industrialization will have to be accelerated.
The Defence Minister said, the private sector will have to play a bigger role in collaboration with the public sector. There is a lot of space for the private and the public sector to co-exist. There is a lot of scope in the defence sector in various spheres - infrastructure development, logistics, training, simulation and exports. Defence could also provide enormous scope for Indian business and industry in spheres such as infrastructure development, exports and for becoming an important constituent of the global defence supply chain. Joint ventures and technical collaborations would help the Indian defence industry to strive for greater excellence in Defence R&D, design, engineering and manufacturing.
Shri Antony said, with the latest defence production policy we want to strengthen the defence industrial base - both in the public and the private sector. The offsets policy has far more potential than has been hitherto tapped. Offsets need a far greater thrust to enhance R&D and logistic capabilities, as well as defence infrastructure. We need to clearly identify and define our priorities in defence technologies and manufacturing capabilities.
Other who spoke on the occasion included the Director General of IDSA, Shri NS Sisodia and former Secretary (Defence Finance) Shri Vinod Misra.