Revised defence purchase procedures by April: Antony

February 16th, 2008 - 3:48 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) India will enunciate by April its revised procedures for purchasing military hardware after bringing these in line with the best international practices, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Saturday. “We have received a number of suggestions. We are seriously applying our minds to this and fine tuning the procedures. We should be ready with the new rules by April,” Antony said at a press conference after inaugurating the four-day DEFEXPO-2008 international defence exposition here.

According to Antony, the offsets policy that was part of the Defence Procurement Procedure announced in 2006 was “at a nascent stage and still evolving”.

“Discussions are going on with regard to few important issues like banking of credits, transfer of technology, licensing requirements for the software industry and the like,” the minister said.

“I am sure that the discharge of offsets will give the necessary fillip to the participation of the private sector in a big way,” he added.

A record 475 defence manufacturers - 273 of them from abroad - will showcase their varied portfolios at DEFEXPO-2008 as they eye purchases of Rs.155 billion (approx $4 billion) by the Indian armed forces over the next five years.

Spread over eight halls and 32,000 sq m of open and covered space, DEFEXPO-2008 will see the launch of a staggering 91 new products ranging from radars, to communications systems, torpedoes, anti-mine vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and combat clothing.

Given the fast warming ties between New Delhi and Washington, it is not surprising that US companies should be making a beeline for the exposition. A total of 46 American companies, the largest from any country, are represented at the show.

They include giants like Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Sikorsky besides the US defence department.

Rather inexplicably, China has decided to stay away from DEFEXPO-2008, while Pakistan was not invited.

Antony, however, did not read too much in the Chinese response.

“Don’t read too much into it,” he said in response to a question, adding: “In the past, there had been hesitation on the part of some countries to participate.

“This time, almost all the important players are participating. It shows that India is a worthwhile destination.”

“We are friendly to everyone. We are not in favour of anyone, nor are we negative to anyone. We only ask for the most modern technology that is acceptable to the armed forces and at competitive prices,” the minister said.

A major highlight of DEFEXPO-2008 is the inclusion of 16 seminars to enable exhibitors to make technology and product specific presentations targeted at Indian defence establishments, R&D institutions, visiting official delegations, defence public sector undertakings, ordnance factories and Indian industry.

Telecom and IT companies are also showcasing their products and services at the exposition, with which the fourth India Defence Industry Summit is also being held.

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