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Only 10% Of Arms Procurement Deals Proposed In Last 3 Years Materialised: Def Ministry

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| February 27 , 2018 , 09:14 IST

At a time when India is facing tensions with Pakistan with frequent ceasefire violations, infiltrations and militant activities, and relations with China are yet to return to pre-Doklam status, there are reportedly crippling delays in the arms procurement of the Defence Ministry.

Only 8-10 percent of 144 proposed deals in the last 3 financial years fructified within the stipulated time periods, an internal defence ministry report quoted by TOI said. The report further added that India's entire weapons acquisitions process is "badly broken and beset with huge delays".

A presentation prepared by Junior Defence Minister Subhash Bhamre for Prime Minister Narendra Modi late last year stated that the arms procurement process of India is dogged by “multiple and diffused structures with no single-point accountability”, duplication of processes, avoidable redundant layers, delayed execution, no real-time monitoring and no project-based approach, among other things.

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The highly lauded 'Make in India' policy in defence production continues to be hampered due to procedural delays without taking off in a concrete manner, the presentation said, adding that cognisance should be taken of the “hard, uncomfortable facts” to ensure “correctives” are put in place, with proper responsibility and accountability.

In the last 3-4 years, no major 'Make in India' defence project has actually kicked off due to lack of requisite political push through bureaucratic bottlenecks and commercial and technical differences.  

Meanwhile, the armed forces are faced with major operational gaps in terms of everything from fighters drones and helicopters to submarines and minesweepers and artillery howitzers.

The Ministry of Defence presentation cites crippling delays from the time the technical requirements are formulated in the tenders to the final approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security financial authority. Currently, it takes around an average of 120 weeks to clear an approval after a tender is finalised, nearly 6 times the recommended time period specified by the Ministry of Defence in 2016.