Hyderabad: Indiscriminate blacklisting of companies supplying defence products over "small issues" may create supply-chain problems for the armed forces, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said but insisted that "serious crimes" should not go unpunished.
"You cut down your options by indiscriminate blacklisting. I am not saying blacklisting should not be there. If one has committed a serious crime, it has to be punished severely. But just understand a scenario where because of some small issue we blacklist a series of companies," he said.
Parrikar was addressing a conclave organised by Forum for Integrated National Security.
The Defence Minister defended government's decision to partially lift the ban on Tatra trucks, saying it had affected supply of some important equipment.
"I found more than 10 per cent of the trucks getting stopped because of spares. A lot of systems which we need to induct got stuck up because the trucks were not available.
I think the need of the defence forces is the first priority. Of course, we have not fully withdrawn the ban. We have only said that it can be used only where it is absolutely essential," the minister said.
Last December, Parrikar had said the government was open to reviewing all cases of blacklisted defence firms on merit and partially lifted a ban on Tatra trucks.
Parrikar said India has the capability to export defence and aerospace products but stressed on the need to remove bottlenecks in defence procurement.
"There are bottlenecks. I found that bottlenecks are not because of any logic or lack of understanding or lack of policy. But over the last may be around 8 years we have tied ourselves in a knot.
"We have created a web of procedural bottlenecks so much so that files initiated in 2006 or 2007 are coming to me now," he said, in a veiled attack on the previous UPA government.
Parrikar assured the industry that his ministry would come out with new defence procurement procedures to address their concerns.