Public-private partnership in defence a must: PM

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said the government will encourage the participation of India Inc. in the defence sector through public-private partnerships.

‘Greater participation of Indian industry in the defence sector is a must. Our government will encourage public-private partnerships as a catalyst towards achieving this objective,’ he said at an award distribution ceremony on National Technology Day 2010 here.

Pointing out that there were technological gaps in India’s military capabilities, the prime minister said these could be filled using the government’s offset scheme in defence procurement.

The private sector is a peripheral player in the country’s defence sector, which is dominated by state-owned giants and global defence vendors.

Defence experts say the offsets scheme allows the private sector not only get business from foreign vendors implementing high ticket projects but also helps sharpen its technological skill and manufacturing base.

The defence procuement policy stipulates that for import orders in excess of Rs.300 crore, the suppliers must reinvest 30 percent in Indian companies.

The prime minister said the development of advanced technology could not be achieved in a day. ‘Integrated approach to building a broad base of scientific talent, production capacities and a long-term vision are key elements to success.’

He also stressed on greater partnership between the academic community and defence research institutes to synergise strategic planning and analyses, promote research and development, and inculcate a scientific attitude in young minds.

‘I would also encourage our research and development organisations and laboratories to develop a closer interface with the academic world. It is essential that we motivate and incentivise our youth to focus on research activities,’ Singh said.

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