'Made in China' parts for critical Indian army systems?

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Army Chief Gen VK Singh
New Delhi, Apr 20: After Army Chief Gen VK Singh spilt crucial information regarding India’s lack of critical ammunition and lack of preparedness in the event of war, more stunning claims emerged when a report revealed that China-made components were being used in the combat systems with the Ministry of Defence rather than indigenously developed ones.

According to a TV report, the defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has been using Chinese hardware in the combat systems. The report also cites that Army's Deputy Chief Lieutenant General VS Tonk has apprised the important matter to the people in the Central government and the Ministry of Defence.

The report says that key components in Project Shakti that is currently being used by the armed force contain Chinese components in terms of IT hardware that makes the entire communication network extremely vulnerable. Incidentally, Project Shakti is the main communication lifeline of the Indian Army and is being used in about two thirds of the force.

In his letter, Gen Tonk has highlighted how major components of the system manufactured by BEL has Chinese components. He has also revealed fears that a thorough systematic investigation of the Project Shakti hardware will divulge the extent of vulnerability. The Army has argued that under no circumstances can such critical systems have modules manufactured in countries inimical to national interests.

The fact that BEL is part of many other defence related projects is also a cause for major concern. The China-made components issue was also featured in the letter that was discussed among top-level government officials along with the Vice Chief on Mar 23, 2011. The Defence Secretariat had claimed that the use of Chinese hardware amounted to a dilution of trust the armed forces depose in the PSU.

After the recent involvement of Bharat Earth Mover Limited (BEML) in the Tatra truck deal that is under the scanner now, the latest expose will only weaken the Indian Army’s capabilities.

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