DAs to report to the ministry on defence purchases across the world and about potential export opportunities
Sitharaman while speaking at the Vivekananda International Foundation also said that the reporting by the attaches will help officials who are involved in purchasing new defence equipment.
Sitharaman while speaking at the Vivekananda International Foundation also said that the reporting by the attaches will help officials who are involved in purchasing new defence equipment. The attaches, numbering at least 40, have met ministry officials during the defence expo last year and the Aero India-2019 in February. Sitharaman had addressed the attaches on the matter during the expo.
She also said that the defence ministry has held discussions with the finance ministry that a part of the budget allocated to defence which has not been utilised in a particular year should not be taken back, so that it is available for upcoming expenditures in the next few years.
While speaking on defence attaches Sitharaman said, “I was really surprised that our defence attaches don’t even report to the ministry. Once posted out, they are dealing with the foreign service and ambassador. But what is happening in the global world tell me every six months...why should the report come through MEA. Tell me what kind of technologies are attracting the globe towards that country or tell me what a country needs some of the things that you produce here.”
She added that the attaches were asked to return to India and discuss with the ministry on the defence technologies across the world. “For the first time we had to make it a point for the DAs to come here. Once in a year to sit and consult us as to what we should do...periodic reports also helps those officials who have to plan purchasing of equipment...The defence attache should be alerted of what is happening in different parts of the world on defence equipment,” she said.
There have already been two meetings with defence attaches during the expo and the air show, she said. “We had the defence attaches come and tell us what is happening across the world on defence purchases and marketing and related production,” she explained.
She added that several countries are willing to purchase defence equipment from India. “I am glad to say that today our missiles are so sort after by many countries...The underlying point we are placing before these organisations (DPSUs) whether producing missiles or aircraft is that there is a market outside. They (countries) want to purchase from India...Even our warship building capability is well recognised outside. There are a lot of countries saying give us that capacity,” she said.
Meanwhile on negotiations with the finance ministry she explained, “I have made sure to talk to the finance ministry to make sure that defence no longer will get a budget, does it expenditure for this year and sometimes what you budgeted for doesn’t happen this year. The money goes back unutilised to the consolidated fund...We made a clear demand to the finance that once allocated it shall not go back. And the committed expenditure whichever year that may happen, will happen from this fund which probably will get accumulated ....made sure the money is there.”
She added that on there is a clear understanding between the two ministries on this matter. “I can say that there is a positive response from the finance, but of course too close to election time and have to wait for the new government to come,” she said, adding that if it comes through then the problem of defence forces wanting an equipment, but not having the money for it will not come up.