NEW DELHI: In an attempt to clear roadblocks in military hardware procurement, the Centre is coming out with a policy to legalise the role of ‘middlemen’ in a defence deal and bring fresh norms to blacklist erring firms for violating integrity clause.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said the ministry will soon unveil a “clear-cut” policy next month on engaging “representatives” for arms purchase. Speaking at a function in the national capital, Parrikar said blacklisting of defence suppliers to root out corruption was not the only solution and indicated going for heavy penalties against erring firms. “We should be in a position to have a very clear cut policy by January on representatives and on blacklisting. What does blacklisting mean. How far we can take it forward,” Parrikar said. On having “representatives”, he said they should have a very clear agreement with the Union Ministry of Defence (MoD) on their fees and there should be provisions for heavy penalty on violators.
Parrikar insisted that having “representative” with a very clear method of payment and fees was a better solution to the defence forces than delaying the procurement procedures. Observing that blacklisting was not the only solution, the Defence Minister said Italian defence multinational Finmeccanica, which was blacklisted, has so many subsidiaries and wondered was it viable not to buy arms from any one of them.
Parrikar also warned Pakistan that India will give strong response for infiltrating terrorists on India soil. The Defence Minister, who made his maiden visit to Srinagar on Thursday, said a change in situation will emerge after six months as government was planning a number of steps, but refused to elaborate. “I feel that there has to be some strong response which will once and for all or at least reduce this blatant attempts. It’s an open secret that they came from Pakistan” he said.