Antony Pledges to Clean up Defence Procurements

Defence Minister A K Antony has said that the government would resort to cancellation of contracts to check corruption in defence deals.

Addressing a CII seminar on defence communications, Antony said that the government “would not hesitate to cancel contracts if there is malpractice” in procurements.

In response to vice president, CII, Harish S Bhartia’s suggestion of greater private sector participation in the defence industry, Antony said that indianisation of defence equipment would help to further self reliance in meeting the requirements of the armed forces. 

Antony said that manipulations and malpractices were found at times and the government had “ruthlessly cancelled big ticket items,” a refernece to his earlier term as defence minister in the preceding UPA government,  when two defence deals, including the Eurocopter helicopter deal were scrapped last year on grounds of malpractices by the original equipment manufacturer.

“In future also, I cannot say if there is malpractice we will take a lenient view,” Antony said.

“They should not try to bribe our people,” Antony cautioned private sector firms planning tie ups with foreign suppliers and OEMs. “If they try, they will face the consequences, as also the officers and manufacturers who are in touch with them.”

“We will not be lenient. We will take strong action,” he warned as the government was not inclined tolerate “wheeling dealing or corruption.”

He said that the situation in the immediate neighbouthood necessitated further modernisation of the security forces, which required greater weapons and equipment procurement.

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