Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said most defence deals are stuck because of lobbying, vested interests, and kickbacks that happened during the last 10 years of Congress rule at the Centre. He said his priority is to clear the controversy and speed up acquisition in a transparent manner.

“My target is to clear all weapons purchase deals one by one on a priority basis, beginning next week,” said the country’s new defence minister, adding that he will also strengthen the army’s fighting capability, logistics, and infrastructure. He further said he will strengthen the armed forces with pre-emptive measures that discourage cross-border firing on the line of control.

He said India need not worry about Pakistan or China or any other country as the country’s defences are strong.

Speaking to party workers on his maiden visit to Goa after being sworn into the Union Cabinet, he said that after being extensively briefed over the last two days, he has realized that India has no need to worry about any other country.

Parrikar, who is on a five day visit to Goa, told mediapersons that everybody knows what happened in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal and there was a question mark raised on the acquisition of fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF). He refused to elaborate on the fighter aircraft deal.

“Most (defence) acquisitions made have some controversy. I don’t want to go into the details, but my job is to clear the controversy,” he said, adding that the more you go in for tightening on corruption, the more you raise the question, and the deals get more complex, and one should adopt a transparent method where no questions are raised.

Asked to react on incursions in Arunachal Pradesh by the Chinese military, Parrikar said this type of incursion and crossing the imaginary line of control happens many times in many sectors, but it is taken care of on the same day or within a couple of days. “Except on one or two occasions, there has been no serious incident.” He added the ministry will take steps to avoid such incidents in the future.

He said he will look at the country being able to produce indigenous weapons based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘make in India’ concept. He also said that revamping of the DRDO is on the cards, but “as of now I have not taken any decision. Right now, I want them to perform”. He further said the ministry will concentrate on improving training capacity, and filling up vacancies of officers in the army.

Parrikar was given a rousing welcome at the Dabolim airport by Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar and the state cabinet.

SOURCE: TNN

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