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India's arms imports often not up to mark

July 16, 2007 20:02 IST

Concerned over the delays in supply of crucial weapon systems by foreign vendors, Defence Minister A K Antoday on Monday said imported arms were often not "found upto the mark" and sought "aggressive indigenisation" through public and private sectors to offset the dependence.

He said the domestic defence industry -- both public and private -- should move forward to overcome it since indigenisation was the only solution to reduce reliance on foreign companies.

He said such overdependence often led to delays in supply of hi-tech systems crucial to country's defence, and the imported armament systems received were many a time not "found up to the mark".

The minister made these comments in his address to the Parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry. The remarks come in the backdrop of delays India is facing in supply of weapons platforms like the frontline Sukhoi fighter planes and aircraft carrier Gorshkov from Russia and AWACS from Israel.

Antony also cautioned that the current spree of arms purchases from abroad could not be sustained for long and domestic industry needed to invest more on research and development.

India is currently spending billions of dollars on acquisition of hi-tech weapon systems and, according to official figures, the country spent almost 350 billion dollars on arms imports in the past seven years.

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