November 24, 2014

Wanted to study last-minute issues: Def min on deferred IAF

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said he has deferred a decision on a joint bid by Tata Sons and Airbus to replace IAF's Avro transport aircraft fleet as also the procurement of 106 Swiss Pilatus basic trainer aircraft because he wanted more information on these deals.

He also said that though no decision has been taken on the next course of action as regards the scrapped minesweeper deal with a South Korean firm, the "general thinking" is that the eight vessels would be built at the Goa Shipyard.

"It was because I wanted to study the issues, some of which cropped up at the last minute," Parrikar told reporters when asked why the decision on the aircraft deals had been deferred.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event here, the minister, however, did not elaborate as to what the issues were.

He said the project could be again taken up when the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) next meets. Parrikar has already made it clear that instead of meeting just once a month, the DAC could meet whenever needed, even with a smaller agenda.

Parrikar had yesterday cleared a proposal for acquiring 814 artillery guns for Rs 15,750 crore even as he deferred the decision on the aircraft deals.

Indian Army has not acquired artillery guns in the past three decades after the Bofors scam surfaced in 1986.

Sources said at least six tenders had been issued for the artillery guns which, however, were cancelled due to a number of reasons, including blacklisting and single-vendor scenario.

Asked about the scrapping of the multi-crore minesweeper vessel deal, Parrikar said the general thinking is that the Goa Shipyard can make all the eight and, if needed, can collaborate with a foreign firm, including the South Korean firm.

The deal was stuck for long because of allegations of involvement of middlemen and the new government had sought an opinion from Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi in the matter.

The Attorney General in his opinion last month had said that tender conditions have been violated.

India's defence procurement procedure does not allow the role of agents in deals


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