Timely delivery of procurements important, Antony tells suppliers

May 28th, 2009 - 1:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Articulating his anxiety over the delay in the delivery of major defence acquisitions, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Thursday said “delivery on time is important” and a major factor in contain cost escalation by countries like Russia.
Dedicating the first of the three “eye-in-the-sky” airborne early warning and control systems (AWACS) to the nation, Antony said: “I conveyed my anxieties to both of them (Israel and Russian ambassadors) here that they will deliver the remaining two AWACS in time. The anxiety is not country centric.”

The $1.1 billion AWACS deal was signed in 2004 and the first of the three systems was delivered this week after recurring delays.

“We have to further speed up the procurement as the security scenario around us demands that we must equip our armed forces with far most modern equipments,” Antony told reporters.

The minister pointed out that delays in delivery result in the technology becoming old in the wake of speedy technological advancement.

The defence minister said delays in the delivery of the systems have resulted in problems of cost escalation. The acquisition of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov has been delayed for long with Moscow continuously escalating the price.

“Cost escalation is a problem including with Russia and other countries. The real answer is to get the delivery on time. We are in constant touch with countries who supply to India…. We are trying to impress upon the countries that delivery on time is important,” Antony told reporters here.

Russia has pushed up the cost of Admiral Gorshkov, to be inducted in the Indian Navy as INS Vikramaditya, from $1.5 billion to $2.7 billion and the Russians are now demanding $2.9 billion.

Along with this the delivery of INS Chakra, the Russian-built nuclear-powered attack Akula class submarine, has been delayed and insiders indicate that Moscow is planning to hike its price citing the global economic meltdown.

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