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Dependence on foreign arms vendors risky: Pranab

As per new norms, foreign vendors will be signing pacts where deals will be void of middlemen, reports Rahul Singh.
None | By Rahul Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 25, 2006 04:31 AM IST

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said reliance on foreign sources for the country’s defence needs is fraught with dangers and the antidote to such dependence is creating new public-private partnerships in defence procurements. Speaking at a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) function on Tuesday, Mukherjee said the efforts of the government had been to evolve procurement procedures to encourage the indigenous industry to play a larger role in servicing the needs of the armed forces.

“Every nation that relies on imported weapons and systems is vulnerable to a sudden cessation of supplies during wars. Ironically, this happens when they are most needed. India has in the past also been adversely affected by such policies of supplier nations,” he said.

It is a well-known fact that the availability of high-end technology is made difficult by technology denial regimes. Several Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) projects, including the development of the light combat aircraft and the missile programme have recorded time and cost overruns at least partially due to sanctions imposed on the country after Pokhran II.

“Many foreign governments deny export licences for defence equipment and their policies are influenced by their political and strategic considerations,” Mukherjee said. The Defence Procurement Policy-2006 has for the first time introduced the ‘make’ procedure aimed at harnessing the inherent capability of the fast-growing technical and managerial prowess of the domestic industry for the country’s security interests.

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