Strong safeguards against corruption: Antony

AK Antony said on Thursday that defence allocation has been consistent with the country`s needs and is bound to increase.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Amid concerns about India’s defence preparedness, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Thursday that defence allocation has been consistent with the country`s needs and is bound to grow to increase as the armed forces need to have access to the latest technologies and equipment to counter any threat.

Speaking at the inauguration the seventh edition of International Land and Naval Defence Systems Exhibition-Defexpo-12, Antony said that six companies - four foreign and two Indian – have been blacklisted from the procurement process for 10 years, on the recommendation of the central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Mincing no words, Antony said, “We have zero tolerance for corruption. In the process of procurement, if it is established at any stage of the contract that there is malpractice then we will cancel the contract. Even after signing the contract if anything is found we will take action, we have very strong safe guards.”

“There will be no mercy irrespective of who the vendor is. Any contract more than Rs 100 crore have integrity pact,” he said.

On defence expenditure, Antony said, “With the projected growth of the Indian economy expected at a trajectory of 8-10 percent for the next two decades, expenditure on defence in absolute terms is bound to increase,"

Antony also pointed out that India is located in sensitive security surroundings and
its neighbours are modernising their defence forces in a fast pace.

Observing that the defence allocation has been consistent with the country`s needs, he said, "India`s defence expenditure in the recent past has been around two percent of the GDP, which has been consistent with our security needs as well as our requirement."

Underlining the need for indigenisation, he said the emphasis is on the need for public-private sector partnership in the defence industry.

"Enabling policy framework has been put in place to develop indigenous capabilities through harnessing the potential and utilising resources available both in public and private sector," he added.

On Defence Offset Policy, the Defence Minister said that, "Review of the Defence Offset Policy is being undertaken and further changes are expected in due course.

"We have been periodically reviewing the Defence Procurement Procedures to usher in greater transparency and speed in the defence acquisition process," he added.

The Defence industry is open to 100 percent investment by Indian private industry, while Foreign Direct Investment is allowed up to 26 percent.

The four day-long exhibition will see participation of 58 official delegation including 18 ministerial delegations.

Started in 1999, the expo is going to be the biggest ever with the participants booking an area over 30,760 square meters to display their products.

Besides some of the major participants such as Russia, France and Israel, USA, UK, Italy, Singapore, Canada and Germany, China is also sending a delegation in the exhibition.

With PTI inputs