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Home > News > PTI

Make transparency the buzzword: Antony

October 24, 2007 16:01 IST

With India on the verge of concluding mega defence deals, Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday told top armed forces commanders and strategic planners to speed up decision making and make transparency and fairness their new "buzzwords".

A change in the mindsets is called for, Antony said, adding country was in the process of accelerating the pace of modernisation of the armed forces by inducting hi-tech weapons systems.

"Technology has compressed distances and times," the minister said at the Combined Commanders Conference reminding that "a speedy response time" was called for.

He said significant financial powers had been devolved to services headquarters and it must be ensured that these powers are put to best use.

The minister's remarks are significant in the backdrop of reports of delay in armament procurement due to slow decision making specially in the army.

For the last two budgets, army has not been able to fully utilise the allocated funds for arms purchases. Taking the floor after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] addressed the services top brass, Antony told the commanders that steps like institutionalisation of defence planning process and refinement of defence procurement procedure had added urgency in the methodology and transparency in functioning.

The defence minister said India was on the path of developing into a regional and an economic superpower and with this, country's role and responsibilities were bound to increase.

As trans-border threats changed in nature and scope, nations were becoming increasingly inter-dependent, he said. Terrorism, the defence minister said, continued to be one of the major security challenges that India faced. He said terrorists were constantly modernizing their communication networks and there was an urgent need for security forces to successfully counter the threat posed by them.

Antony, however, said the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] and North-East had shown steady signs of improvement. But, the minister cautioned that there was a need to carefully monitor international environment and formulate flexible response options to emerging situations.

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