New Delhi: Sending a strong message to "wrongdoers" in the armed forces, Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday warned of "strictest possibile action" against those indulging in acts of corruption.
"I wish to strongly urge all of you to set the highest standards of personal behaviour and professional probity in your day-to-day dealings," he said addressing the Army Commanders Conference here.
"I wish to emphasise that any act of corruption will not be condoned and we will take strictest possible action against any wrongdoer," Antony said.
Antony`s warning comes in the wake of graft charges flying thick and fast in the armed forces with even Army Chief Gen V K Singh claiming that he was offered Rs 14 crore as bribe by a retired defence officer for clearing a `sub-standard` procurement order.
The swirl of controversies have even raised questions over the civil-military relationship.
"I think there is no problem in civil military relations," Singh told reporters here when asked about it separately.
Noting that securing national interests was the prime objective, the Defence Minister underlined that modernisation of the armed forces had always been the top priority of the government.
"Our endeavour has been to provide the desired impetus to modernisation in a systematic manner," he said.
Antony assured the Commanders that the government would continue to improve and fine-tune procedures whenever and wherever necessary to ensure that the Army meets its modernisation goals in an acceptable timeframe.
Observing that the acquisition of critical technologies from foreign countries will get subjected to various technology denial regimes and post-procurement dependencies, the Minister underlined the urgent need to achieve self-reliance in the field of critical defence equipment.
"This can be made possible only with the continuous and active cooperation of the armed forces, the scientists and other participants in the defence industry," he said.
Antony said he had no doubt that various changes in the procurement procedures would enhance the public private partnership component in the defence sector.
"It will also help realise the full potential of various joint ventures in the fields of R&D and manufacturing to our advantage," he said.