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"Malpractices will not be tolerated" Antony

A file photo of Defence Minister A K Antony

NEW DELHI (BNS): In the toughest ever message to stem corruption, India’s Defence Minister A K Antony said the government “would not hesitate to ruthlessly cancel contracts,” if malpractices are found in any defence procurement.

Inaugurating a two-day seminar “DEFCOM India – 2009,” Wednesday, Antony asked organisations such as CII, FICCI and others to help the government in this regard, a Defence Ministry statement said.

He said the government has consciously taken a decision to minimise the country’s dependence on import of defence systems and platforms, adding, more products should be sourced on the basis of ‘buy and make’ rather than ‘buy’ category alone. He regretted that nearly 70 per cent of defence weapons and systems are still being imported and only 30 per cent are being indigenously produced.

“The turbulence in our immediate neighbourhood puts the political stability in our country in an even better perspective. The need to modernise our defence forces to preserve our territorial integrity in the face of asymmetric and unconventional means of warfare cannot be overemphasized,” he said.

He called for a synergy of efforts of the Armed Forces, the Industry, the Academia and Research and Development Establishments to transform the defence forces to a network centric force.

Referring to the new challenges before the Armed Forces, both in terms of the concepts involved and the material needed, the Minister said, it is neither possible nor feasible to have equipment and systems on stand-by for all conceivable variants of modern military conflicts. He suggested developing of parallel capabilities and evolution of concept, process, organisations and technologies.

The Defence Minister said the existing capability of the industry will have to be significantly enhanced and added military capabilities will have to be shaped by a combination of knowledge and defence technologies, paving the way for new areas of activity offering substantial potential to innovate.

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