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India signed def deals worth Rs 1.21 lakh cr in last 3 fiscals

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Fifty-eight contracts involving Rs 1.21 lakh crore were signed by the government with foreign defence firms in the last three fiscals for procuring aircraft, helicopters and weapons systems for the armed forces, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

Replying to questions on defence procurement, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre also listed agreements India had sealed with foreign governments during the period including with Russia to bolster its defence preparedness.

He said India is procuring aircraft, helicopters, rockets and ammunition from abroad as part of the 58 contracts worth Rs 1.21 lakh crore from 2014-15 to 2016-17.

Referring to the strategic partnership model, Bhamre said transparency and fair competition will be ensured through a rigorous process in its implementation.

Under the 'strategic partnership' model finalised in May, select private firms will be engaged to build military platforms like fighter jets, submarines and battle tanks in collaboration with foreign defence majors.

"It is expected that the implementation of the policy will enhance competition, increase efficiencies, facilitate faster and more significant absorption of technology, create a tiered industrial ecosystem, ensure development of a wider skill base," Bhamre said.

He said the policy is aimed at reducing dependence on imports of defence equipments and ensure greater self-reliance to meet national security objectives.

To a separate question on whether defence research and development organisation has successfully tested an indigenous smart anti-airfield weapon from an Indian Air Force aircraft, the minister said the information cannot be divulged, citing national security interest.

Replying to another query, Bhamre said a total of 26 cadets were declared medically unfit and withdrawn from the National Defence Academy (NDA) since 2014.

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