Government seeking highest probity in defence deals, says PM

Gurgaon: With the CBI probing alleged kickbacks in the VVIP chopper deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asserted that his government will continue to seek the highest standards of probity in defense deals.

The prime minister, who laid foundation of the Indian National Defence University here, said the government has paid close attention to sound defense acquisition policies and reformed them to ensure that the armed forces have the best equipment.

He said the government was conscious of the fact that adequate defense preparedness was critically dependent on sound defence acquisition policies.

The prime minister said the government has also been guided by the objective of making defence acquisition transparent, smooth, efficient and less vulnerable to unethical practices.

“We will continue to seek the highest standards of probity in defense acquisition,” he said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing the alleged kickbacks in the contract for purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from Agusta Westland by the defence ministry.

The prime minister also said the government was also paying close attention to indigenisation of defence procurement, and was committed to taking further steps to stimulate the development of the domestic defence industry, including the Indian private sector.

“This is important not only to enhance our security, but also to spur industrial development and economic growth of our country,” he said.

The prime minister said the country must fully utilize the sophisticated management and technological capacities that were already with the private sector, including in the defence field, not just for production but for defence research and development.

He said the country’s deterrence capabilities had matured over the last nine years and the country was better equipped to deal with non-conventional threats, especially in the cyber and space domains.

“We are implementing a national architecture for cyber security and have taken steps to create an office of a national cyber security coordinator,” he said.


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