No tolerance for corruption in defence deals: Antony

Thursday, 28 May 2009, 02:37 Hrs
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New Delhi: Sending out a stern message against corruption in defence equipment procurement, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Wednesday said contracts will be "ruthlessly" cancelled if any malpractices were found.

Deviating from his prepared text for the inauguration speech at the DEFCOM India - 2009 seminar here, Antony asked industry organisations such as Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to help the government in this regard.

"We would not hesitate to ruthlessly cancel contracts," Antony told reporters in reply to a question on stemming corruption in defence deals.

Antony assumed charge as defence minister Monday. During his previous three-year term as defence minister, the government had cancelled the 155-mm artillery guns tender after Bofors came out on top.

Bofors was embroiled in a corruption case in the 1980s.

Also, a light utility helicopter deal was scuttled after discrepancies were found in the selection procedure.

Addressing the seminar, Antony said the government had consciously taken a decision to minimise the country's dependence on import of defence systems and platforms.

He also agreed that more products should be sourced on the basis of 'buy and make' rather than 'buy' category alone. He lamented that nearly 70 percent of defence weapons and systems are still being imported and only 30 percent are being indigenously produced.

The two-day seminar on Informatics for Defence Force Transformation and Technology Development in the Information Age - DEFCOM India - 2009 - has been organised by the Corps of Signals of the Indian Army in collaboration with CII.

Army chief General Deepak Kapoor was also present during its inaugural session.
Source: IANS
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