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India to remain major arms buyer

However, it's necessary to streamline arms spending and procedures to catch up with new trends, say strategists.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2006 15:03 IST

Leading global defence planners and financial managers on Monday said India would continue to be a major arms purchaser but needed to streamline arms spending and procedures to catch up with new trends.

Gathering for the first time on the Indian soil, defence economists, policy makers and leading strategists suggested that India had to frame policies to benefit from spin-offs from arms acquisition.

The spin-offs would come in the form of frontline technology transfers, a better maintenance system in the form of life-cycle support system of armament platforms and flow of offsets to both the country's still fledgling defence industry and to the social sector.

The platform for the defence spending planners and economists was provided by the holding of the first-ever International Seminar on Defence Finance and Economics by the ministry of defence.

Throwing open the three-day seminar, which will focus on issues like international military manpower trends, policy of offsets in arms purchases, life cycle support systems for armament systems, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the deliberations would trigger "globalisation of strategic thinking".

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in his special address, visualised a greater role for the private sector in Defence production and made it clear that the loss making Defence Public sector undertakings could not not keep on depending on Government bailouts.