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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Jul 2014

Probity in defence deals is being pursued, asserts Manmohan

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 24, 2013
First Published: 00:29 IST(24/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:30 IST(24/5/2013)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the government would continue to seek the "highest standards of probity" in defence acquisition, which has been hit by a string of scandals in recent years.

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He said the government was guided by the goal of making arms purchases transparent and less vulnerable to unethical practices.

He said the government was conscious that adequate defence preparedness was "critically dependent" on sound acquisition policies.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone of India's first National Defence University at Binola village near Gurgaon, Singh said the government was committed to taking more steps to provide impetus to the domestic defence sector, including private players.

The PM asserted that India had achieved the stature to emerge as a "net provider of security" in the country's immediate region and even beyond. He said the country's deterrence capabilities had matured and had been given concrete shape over the last nine years.

He added, "India's security has never been stronger than it is today and our international relationships have never been more conducive to national development efforts." The capabilities of the armed forces had been augmented in the last few years to protect India's interests, the PM explained.

He said India faced the entire spectrum of security challenges as "we live in a difficult neighbourhood", which has its own set of conventional, strategic and non-traditional challenges.

He said the country was better equipped to deal with non-conventional threats, especially in the cyber and space domains, than in the past. He added that the government had taken steps to appoint the first national cyber security coordinator.

The university, being set up at a cost of over Rs. 300 crore, will be headed by its president, who would be a three-star serving general.

The armed forces will account for 66% of the students, while the remaining will be drawn from other government agencies, including the police force.

Civilians too will be entitled to enroll in the upcoming university.


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