It is an "old mindset" that secrecy would be compromised if the Indian private sector is involved in the supply of defence equipment, which was hampering import substitution, union Home Minister P Chidambaram said in Chennai on Monday.
Speaking at a function held to celebrate 60 years of forming of the city-based Tube Investments of India Ltd, part of the $3 billion Murugappa Group, he said: "Most of our defence manufacturing in India is of basic nature. We are heavily dependent on imports for sophisticated equipments on countries like the US and others."
"When the nation can trust the employees of public sector units, it can also trust the patriotism of private sector workers in supplying defence equipments," he said.
Urging Tube Investments to get into newer product range apart from cycles, steel tubes, chains and metal forms, Chidambaram said: "Indian engineering industries have the capability and capacity to absorb technology and manufacture advanced technology products."
He said the country should go back to the old mantra of import substitution, but this time of high technology products.
He praised the Murugappa family, saying, "The Murugappa Group has been able to accommodate every member of its family through organic and inorganic growth and at the same time infuse professionalism by offering lateral entry to outsiders."