Policies to engage private players in modernisation of Indian defence force on the anvil

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New Delhi, Feb 13 (ANI): Union Defence Production Secretary on Saturday confirmed that plans are afoot to increase private sector participation in the arms manufacturing arena.

Union Defence Production Secretary Ram Kumar Singh on Saturday said that the Centre will look for a new source to acquire equipment and would not entertain even a single vendor for defence products if the offsets clause set by the government was not agreed.

Incidentally, this seminar was held two days ahead of the Defexpo exhibition.

Union Government is also consulting various agencies before arriving at a decision on the defence production policies to engage private players into the market.

The private players in the Indian defence market would bolster the country's indigenous military-industry base.

"If you have a single vendor ship position and that vendor is reluctant to give offsets, my recommendations would be that look for another source of equipment... comparable equipment, so that is our view on off-sets. It is mandatory," Singh said on the sidelines of a seminar on 'Defence offsets: Policy to Implementation' hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here.

Highlighting the augmentation in the interest and participation from the private sector, Singh mentioned about the government's plans to engage more private sectors in the sector of ordnance and allied armaments.

"Involvement of private sector in this industry has risen tremendously. And the government is focusing on improving the private sectors' participation in the production of arms," Singh added.

As for the Defexpo said that there has been overwhelming response from across the world.

Over 650 companies from over 35 countries will display varied weapon systems for the army and navy at the biennial Defence Exposition beginning from Monday.

Viewed as among the largest defence exposition in Asia, the event offers an opportunity to the international defence industry to showcase and promote their products and services.

Major participants in the expo would be from the USA, Israel, Russia, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, New Zealand and Poland.

The maiden exhibition was held in 1999 in which around 197 exhibitors participated.

India, which bought arms worth 10.5 billion dollars during the period 2004-07, accounts for eight percent of global arms trade, next only to China with 12 percent.

India is expected to spend 30 billion dollars on arms purchases by 2012. (ANI)

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