Stating that the government maintains large armed forces but nobody likes a war and that war is the last option for a nation, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Tuesday said that the new defence procurement policy will help in removing bottlenecks created due to procedures.
Speaking at the global investors summit organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) at Quitol, Parrikar said there is no compromise done on the quality of arms provided to the nation’s forces. He said that the country has been spending Rs 3.41 lakh crore annually on maintenance of the armed forces since the last 68 years and that there cannot be a compromise on the quality of defence equipment provided to the forces.
The Defence Minister said that his ministry understands the limitations of the private sector and said that the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) is good for the defence sector, while calling upon the industry to make recommendations so that the government can address the loopholes.
Addressing the summit, Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani said that the defence industry has only one buyer, the government, and called upon it to facilitate production adding that a credible defence policy cannot be built without the involvement of the private sector. He also sought more clarity for the private sector in deals emerging out of agreements between countries or their armed forces.
Ambani said, “It is nobody’s case that everything in the defence industry is amenable to competitive bidding. But the practice of making purchases by nomination should be an exception.” He said that where nominations are unavoidable, there need to be some clear guidelines in place so that private players have better visibility regarding future opportunities.
Ambani said that the government must also spell out where the private players stand in inter-governmental agreements and foreign military sales. He further said that there must be no restriction on air, land and sea in procurement of defence material in the programmes that have been identified by for strategic partnerships and that an open and calibrated policy will shake the status quo, end the monopoly of existing players and benefit the nation by encouraging the entry of new players and increased competition.