Transparency, indigenisation, speed will be priority in defence deals: Manohar Parrikar

Newly appointed Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday met the three service chiefs and assured of speedy procurement of defence equipments.

Last Updated: Nov 11, 2014, 00:53 AM IST
Transparency, indigenisation, speed will be priority in defence deals: Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi: Newly appointed Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday met the three service chiefs and assured of speedy procurement of defence equipments.

Parrikar said indigenisation of defence manufacturing and higher transparency will be his top priorities.

The newly sworn-in Defence Minister met Defence Secretary RK Mathur, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, Indian Navy Chief RK Dhowan, Air Force Chief Arup Raha.

"I will take forward the work that (Arun) Jaitley ji has done..." Parrikar told media persons as he took charge.

"Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has been very clear on 'make in India'. As much as possible we must manufacture here," he said.

58-year-old Parrikar echoed PM Modi's "Make-in-India" slogan and said the country should manufacture "as much as possible" domestically.

"Very unfortunate. Whatever will be there will be very transparent but fast process. I think that is one of my specialities," Parrikar told reporters replying to a question about the delayed acquisition process in the last 10 years and defence deals often getting mired in corruption.

Expressing concern over the naval accidents, the Defence Minister said, I am "equally worried" about the sinking of the torpedo recovery vessel off the coast of Vishakapatnam.

Earlier, today Parrikar filed his nomination papers for Rajya Sabha elections.

In 2012 Army Chief General VK Singh had written a letter to the then Prime Minister, stating the country’s security might be at risk owing to the fact that tanks are running out of ammunition, air defence is going obsolete and the infantry is operating without critical weapons.

The retired Army chief had written the letter to former PM Manmohan Singh on March 12.

In the letter, the ex-Army chief had asked Dr Singh to “pass suitable directions to enhance the preparedness of the Army”.

“The state of the major (fighting) arms i.e. Mechanised Forces, Artillery, Air Defence, Infantry and Special Forces, as well as the Engineers and Signals, is indeed alarming,” Gen Singh wrote in his letter.

In his letter, the former Army Chief had stated that while there is lack of critical ammunition for the entire tank fleet, the country’s air defence is “97% obsolete and it doesn`t give the deemed confidence to protect…from the air”.

Also, the infantry is crippled with “deficiencies of crew served weapon” and lacks “night fighting” capabilities, he had said. Elite Special Forces, on the other hand, are “woefully short” of “essential weapons”, he had added.

He had also hit out at indigenous ordnance factories, saying they produce weapon systems and other fighting material of poor quality with no sense of urgency.

Stating the shortcomings were severely eroding the Army`s preparedness, he had stressed on the need to “urgently mitigate” these “critical deficiencies” that are “impacting the operational capability” of a 1.3million-strong Army.