By Praful Kumar Singh
New Delhi, Feb 16 : Union Defence Minister A K Antony today said that the Defence Procurement Procedure 2008 will be ready in April and will offer an important role to the Indian private sector industry which has received a fillip through the offset policy.
He said that the DPP-2008 is being fine-tuned with a great deal of diligence after taking into account the suggestions received from various stakeholders including the services and the industry.
The new policy will address concerns and opinions of various stakeholders relating to issues like banking of offset credits, Transfer of Technology (ToT), licensing requirement for software industry and so on, Antony said.
He stressed the need for far greater synergy between the private players and the government.
Speaking to reporters after inauguration of the DEFEXPO-08 here today, Antony said that participation of 273 foreign companies and 202 Indian companies indicates the growth of Indian defence production industry.
He said that purchase of the equipments for the armed forces is done in a transparent manner, and categorically ruled out allowing middlemen or commission agents in defence deals.
Antony said the government's stand on the issue is very clear - "No question of middlemen in defence deals."
He ruled out any compromise on transparency. "Of course, we cancelled two-three contracts. Do you want us to compromise on transparency? Even at a later stage when we find something is wrong somewhere, we are not concerned about the status of the company; we will cancel it," he said.
Giving a detailed reply on the status of the Light Combat Aircraft being developed by the DRDO at the Hindustan Aeronautics at Bangalore, Antony said major breakthroughs in the project have been achieved in recent times and he is confident that "it will be in the sky within a few years."
Successful trial flights have taken place of the Light Combat Aircraft. While the airframes have been manufactured in India, presently the engines are imported. The Kaveri engine, which has been undergoing tests in Russia, is yet to be cleared.
Defence Minister Antony said today that the Indian Air Force, which was not willing to accept even one of this aircraft earlier, has now decided to receive two squadrons, indicating their confidence in the aircraft.
The Defence Minister said negotiations are on for a suitable partnership for the development of a fully operational Kaveri engine. "It may take some more time but "we will not abandon the project," he declared.
The DEFEXPO India exhibition was conceptualised in the year 1998 by the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry with an objective to promote defence exports from India and at the same time exhibit the capabilities of Indian Defence research and development and production.
The DEFEXPO India exhibition, which began in 1999 with 197 exhibitors, has grown to one of the most internationally recognised defence exhibitions in the world, with a total of 475 exhibitors, of which foreign exhibitors are 273 and Indian exhibitors are 202.
For the first time in DEFEXPO-08 both Telecom and IT companies will be showcasing their products and services.
Forty-seven official delegations would be visiting DEFEXPO India 2008 including six ministerial delegations from Afghanistan, Belarus, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia and Nigeria.
International participation in DEFEXPO- 08 is from over 30 countries, displaying an array of technology and new products.
Countries participating include Australia, Belarus, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Netherlands, UAE, UK, Ukraine and the US.
The US delegation is the largest delegation with 46 companies participating in the DEFEXPO-08 followed but Russian delegation, which has participation from 43 companies.