NEW DELHI: Stressing on closer coordination between industry and the armed forces, army chief Gen. V.K. Singh said Friday that dependence on foreign firms must be reduced.
"We source 70 percent of equipment from outside and need to reduce this dependence. Defence is trying to reduce dependence on foreign firms. We need to be self-reliant and maintain independent capability," V.K. Singh said at an Assocham meeting.
The army chief said the issue of private sector participation had been debated for a long time and there was need for closer coordination between industry and armed forces for long term investment.
"The demand of private participation has gone up in the recent times. Joint ventures must go to joint design and joint production. Private industry would not invest if there are no gains. So there needs to be more coordination," he said.
Making his first public appearance since his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on shortcomings in the forces was leaked, he, however, refused to comment on the controversy.
"I have nothing to tell you… have already told yesterday (Thursday) what I want to," V.K. Singh told reporters, a day after his statement rebutting charges that he had leaked the letter.
In his letter to Manmohan Singh, V.K. Singh had pointed to a shortage of arms and ammunition in the armed forces.
According to reports, the letter, which was written March 12, 2012, states that army tanks have run out of ammunition. The letter emphasises the need to bridge the shortcomings and bring the army to a fighting level.