US should do more to boost India`s defence capabilities: Singh

India and the US can work out joint ventures to upgrade defence capabilities if New Delhi is perceived as "a friend and a focal point" in Asia, VK Singh said.

Updated: Aug 28, 2013, 15:26 PM IST

Washington: India and the US can work out joint ventures to upgrade defence capabilities if New Delhi is perceived as "a friend and a focal point" in Asia, former Indian Army chief Gen (retd) VK Singh has said.

There is great scope for cooperation in defence technology between the two sides and things will move at a faster pace if Indian military officials are given a greater role in talks with the US, Singh told a news agency in an interview.

"There is a great (scope for) cooperation that can be worked out as a joint venture between the two to upgrade capabilities if the US thinks that India is a friend and a focal point for it in Asia," he said.

"If you look at the policies, it is looked at from that point of view some time back. But that now has to be converted into concrete action."

Noting that the US is a hub of technology, Singh said there is so much that can be shared in the armament, aviation and naval sectors that it can ensure great economic benefit to the US and technological benefit to India.

"I think there is some reservation in the US on sharing this technology with India. I think it is to mutual advantage of both countries," he said.

India is looking at technology, and not hardware. "It has got great capabilities, especially the private sector in India, to manufacture anything, provided the technology is available," he said.

Singh claimed the Indian system dominated by bureaucrats is preventing "real military-to-military" talks between India and the US and, as a result, the real potential of defence ties between the world`s two largest democracies is not being realised.

Singh, the only Indian general to be inducted into the International Fellow Hall of Fame at the prestigious US Army War College, pushed for strong defence ties between the two sides when he headed the Indian Army during March 2010-February 2012.

"One of the problems the US finds is that there are a lot of areas which require military-to-military talks, but the Indian system only permits a babu (bureaucrat) to talk to the US military," said the former Army chief, currently on a visit to the US with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare.

As a result, the defence relationship is not progressing at the pace it should, he said. "They do not understand each other. It becomes a dialogue of the deaf. That has to be sorted out," Singh said.

The Indian system also does not facilitate the building of relations between military officials of the two countries, he claimed.

Singh complained that the Indian bureaucratic system, dominated by IAS officials, is preventing the military leadership from giving its inputs on crucial national security issues.

"If you have attention and focus, automatically budget would come and automatically rest of the things would improve. There has to be greater focus from the point of view of the politico-administrative nexus that prevails in keeping the armed forces away from decision-making," he said.

"National security is not just to be decided by one, two or three people. It must have all the inputs and it must have inputs from the security forces of India."

Things cannot be seen only through "political or administrative lenses", he said.

"We (Indian Army) are not part of the decision-making apparatus. There are no inputs (from the Army)...The Kargil committee`s recommendations are yet to be implemented."

Strongly arguing the case for creating a permanent post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the lines of the system in the US, Singh said India requires such a set-up.

"One-point contact is not there. There is a great amount of effort that is made to instigate one service against another service, so that they can keep fighting amongst each other," he claimed.

"That approach is not there which contributes towards building a force structure that would be better," the former Army chief said.

PTI