Regretting that corrupt practices were happening despite taking precautions, Defence Minister A. K. Antony today said the Government would further tighten norms to prevent controversies such as the VVIP chopper deal and rely less on imports.
The Minister said indigenisation of military hardware was the “ultimate answer” to avoid controversies such as the chopper scam and asked the armed forces to change their mindset of relying on imports to meet operational requirements.
“The need to maintain transparency, honesty and sincerity at every stage cannot be compromised. In spite of taking so many precautions, again here and there things are happening. I don’t know what to do,” Antony said addressing an Army seminar where he deviated from his written speech.
He said in the Ordnance Factory Board scam, the Government went to the extent of blacklisting six defence firms and arms dealer Abhishek Verma was put in jail after the Ministry received allegations about his involvement in corruption in defence deals.
“Even after all this, there are people who are not learning lessons. So, we have to further tighten our mechanisms. Whenever allegations are made, we have to get to the root and find the truth and punish the guilty. We cannot waste even a single penny of Indian taxpayers’ money for greedy players,” the Defence Minister said.
Commenting on the CII Defence Committee Chairman Atul Punj’s demand for more support from Government for indigenisation, the Minister said, “I fully agree with him”.
“As we move forward, more and more, especially after the recent deal controversy coming, the ultimate answer is maximum indigenisation. Depending too much on imports is not the solution.”
He said the Government would take a “second look” at its policies on defence production and procurement to speed up indigenisation in the “mission mode”.