CHANDIGARH, DECEMBER 13 – Lamenting the lacaidiscal attitude of political class towards the defence needs of the country, former Army Chief General VP Malik on Friday stated that due lessons had not been learnt from the Kargil War leaving the nation vulnerable on the security front.
We should have by now built enough indigenous defence capacity platforms, said General Malik who headed the force during Kargil War, adding that Parliament should debate the reasons leading to this failure more than it was doing at the moment.
Setting the stage on fire here during a panel discussion ‘Make in India and the Nation’s Security’ on the very first day of the Military Literature Festival (MLF), General Malik led the chorus on urgently streamlining the defence procurement processes making them facilitators and not hurdles in our endeavour to endow our forces with the cutting edge weaponary.
Dispelling the notion that Army was fond of importing weapons from abroad, General Malik categorically said abject failure of our public sector to fully deliver the required weaponary was the only reason for this.
Echoing the views Former Financial Advisor (Acquisition) with Ministry of Defence Amit Cowshish questioned the ambiguity and mistrust around objectives laid down under Make in India as far as defence acquisitions were concerned. There is no clear cut policy and framework to achieve avowed goals under the new slogan, he said adding that indiginisation cannot be the sole criterion to reduce costs. He advocated a dedicated overarching organisation to process and deliver on our defence needs in a time bound manner.
Cautioning against the temptation to tag defence matters with mere sloganeering, Lt. General Arun Sahni urged for allocating more funds for upgradation of our warfare. We need a more serious approach where accountability is fixed for producing unusable products at the public sector institutions working in the sphere.
The panelists also concurred that India should leverage its advantage of being the largest importer of weapons while dealing with foreign exporters.
Earlier, moderating the session, Rahul Bedi highlighted the gross mismatch between our capabilities and achievements till now. On one side we have launched ballistic missiles and still we can’t make INSAS Rifles, he said alluding to the Make in India campaign.