MUMBAI: Days after the Centre expressed its dissatisfaction over the US’ proposed sale of F16 fighter planes to Pakistan, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said the US had not taken a decision in this regard yet.
“The (US) government has notified Congress about it. They have not taken a decision yet. We have registered out opposition though. How can we remain a mute spectator?” Parrikar said here.
Though FDI in the defence sector has gone up to 49 per cent, he said, equipment made in India will be given priority in defence procurement. “It will not be mandatory but we will give preference to those who make in India,” Parrikar said.
Asked how the Ministry of Defence would ensure the quality of defence production as most of the armed forces turn down locally made items, he admitted it was a challenge but added,
“I can cite you an example of the LCA Tejas. The air force has ordered as many as 100 Tejas LCAs recently, which shows that all the locally made models are not lacking quality. Other countries too have appreciated it.” Parriakr, however, admitted that there was a need of rectifying the glitches in the battle tank Arjun.
“The Defence Production Secretary himself is looking into the issue. It will be rectified.” He said the new Defence Procurement Procedure was almost complete and would come into effect on April 2. “If the system is open and transparent, it can bring down the purchase cost by at least 20-25 per cent without compromising on quality and requirement,” he said.
In the three procurement proposals cleared recently, one company offered a 50 per cent discount while the other offered 20 per cent without compromising on quality and safety. Asked whether the 25 per cent non-discounted money was a form of corruption he said, “I can say we have saved that much money. You are free to interpret.”