Meltdown won’t affect defence expenditure,says Antony

Defence Minister A K Antony and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal F H Major have expressed anguish over the slow pace of development of indigenous technologies and modernisation in the aerospace sector....

Written by Express News Service | Bangalore | Published: February 10, 2009 11:08 pm

Defence Minister A K Antony and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal F H Major have expressed anguish over the slow pace of development of indigenous technologies and modernisation in the aerospace sector. They were speaking at an international seminar on Monday organised by the DRDO,which is a traditional prelude to the biannual Bangalore air show Aero India.

The Defence Minister said it was not right for a rapidly developing country,which is among the only four nations to send a scientific mission to the moon,to still be dependent on imports for 70 per cent of its defence requirements.

India is “far,far away” from being self-reliant in the defence sector,he said and added that he felt guilty over the slow pace of progress in defence production.

Antony said the Government was pouring resources to enhance capabilities for the protection of the country. “We will provide you whatever you want to safeguard India’s national interests,” he said and assured that recession would not affect the modernisation of the IAF. He called on the private industry to spend more on research and development in the defence sector.

Giving an example of the development of missile systems,Antony said a collective approach was required by both public and private sectors for an all-round development of the country.

“We have to take success to a higher level,” the minister said while expressing satisfaction over Indian projects like the Advanced Light Helicopter,the Light Combat Aircraft,UAVs and missile systems like the Akash and Nag.

Speaking on the Mumbai attacks,Antony said a “calibrated international response” was required to prevent attacks of a similar nature in the future. “The dynamics of security are changing continuously across the world. The unconventional means of warfare used by the terrorists as seen in the 9/11 attacks and the recent terror attacks on Mumbai demand a calibrated international response,” the minister said.

The Chief of Air Staff in his address expressed distress over the slow pace of modernisation of the IAF.

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