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Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday 14 May, 2016 said the government will take into account the concerns while forging strategic partnership in the critical sector and set a target to raise India’s defence exports to USD 2 billion in the next two years from the current over USD 330 million.
Parrikar, however, took a dig at defence players who were objecting to proposed strategic partnerships, saying it seems they have realized that they will not be able to “go through the window”. “After the windows have been well defined, (some) people, who have realized they would be not be able to go through the window, have started canvassing that the Defence Ministry is facing problems over strategic partnerships,” he said at a seminar here.
Parrikar said he had received many letters from VIPs expressing concern about strategic partnerships. He said many a times the letters had similar content, which showed that at times the VIPs were signing off letters written by some other party. “Their concerns are well expressed. We are taking into account those concerns. We are soon sitting for second round of small groups (to discuss strategic partnerships). I intend to take up strategic partnership model further and work out strategic partnerships in couple of projects where otherwise there is no solution,” he said.
Parrikar said he would love to follow the already established model (of tendering) but there are problems. “How do you compare one fighter with any fighter,” he said.
Former DRDO chief VK Aatre had earlier this year submitted a report to the Defence Ministry recommending guidelines for selecting domestic private firms for strategic partnership.
However, Indian private defence industry is divided over the issue with some big players batting for it while others pushing to delay it by at least five years. Parrikar has already held a round of talks with the industry chambers over the issue. Meanwhile, he said the government is pushing for defence exports and plan to export Tejas fighter aircraft as well.
“I know it is not easy. Weapons and export of defence goods have double problems. One is whom you are exporting to and the second is one has to go on checking all international requirements,” he said.
Explaining that push for exports has started showing results, he said, “From a meager 140-150 million dollars, this year, I think we have crossed 330 odd million dollars. We have doubled the export. I have set a target for myself. In the next two years, why not touch USD 2 billion. It is not an impossible target.” Source
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