I am of the opinion that the biggest achievement of NDA government in the defence sector is bringing transparency and sincerity in the purchase of arms and equipments. Commission and omission has been the part of defence dealings since independence. The first such case was exposed in purchase of jeeps from Britain. With the passing years, the links of commission agents were linked to all segments of the government structure. The situation was very grave when the present government took over. Arms lobbies and commission agents started playing roles even in the appointments of Chief of armed forces. A former army and navy chief were forced to resign due to conspiracies of these lobbies. As many as thirteen warships met with accidents and immediately after the resignation of the then navy chief such incidences stopped occurring.
The naming of Chief of Air Force in VIP chopper deal of AgustaWestland is the clear instance of how top leadership of can get trapped into the rackets of middleman. The similar kind of clamor is revealing in the purchase of oil tankers for the navy. These dealers are not only foreigners but politicians, administrators and businessmen are integral part of it. The real concern is they have started attacking ‘Chain of Commands’ in the decision making process. Both Prime Minister and Defence Minister are doing their best to get rid of these lobbies, without compromising on the goal of self reliance.
(The writer is an expert of Defence & Strategic Affairs)