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Indian Leadership Change May Lead To Strategic Partners Policy Delay

Indian Leadership Change May Lead To Strategic Partners Policy Delay
Indian Leadership Change May Lead To Strategic Partners Policy Delay

India's effort to boost the private sector defense industry by exclusively providing big-ticket orders on nomination basis through the enactment of the Strategic Partners policy faces delays.

Indian Leadership Change May Lead To Strategic Partners Policy Delay
Indian Leadership Change May Lead To Strategic Partners Policy Delay

India's effort to boost the private sector defense industry by exclusively providing big-ticket orders on nomination basis through the enactment of the Strategic Partners policy faces delays.

The current finance minister, Arun Jaitley, who on March 13 also became the country's defense minister, wants to make sweeping changes in this space.

Defense projects worth more than $35 billion hinge on the Strategic Partners policy, which has been awaiting adoption for a year, a senior Ministry of Defense official noted.

Jaitley's modified Strategic Partners policy could include the selection of at least three or four private sector companies from the nominated production agencies, as opposed to the earlier proposal of selecting one or two.

An additional change could include "not giving big-ticket defense contracts exclusively on nomination basis, as is presently being given to the state-owned defense companies but through competition," the MoD official said.

In the absence of a (Strategic Partners) policy, all orders for major platforms will continue to go to the public sector," according to Vivek Rae, a former MoD director general for defense procurement. Policy regarding strategic partnerships with defense industry, including private sector, is very important for development of the defense industrial base in the country.

When implemented, shortlisted strategic partners will partner with foreign original equipment manufacturers and then compete through commercial bids to secure final orders — as against the earlier proposal of giving orders on a nomination basis, the MoD official explained.

The Strategic Partners policy was drafted by the outgoing defense minister, Manohar Parrikar, with the aim of creating capacity in the private sector that exceeds that of state-owned defense companies.

Indian private companies have shown interest in building aircraft, helicopters, aero engines, submarines, warships, guns (including artillery guns) and armored vehicles (including tanks) under the policy.

The policy's implementation had run into bureaucratic wrangling within the MoD. While the Department of Defense Production within the MoD is in favor of selecting only one private company to be designated as the nominated production agency for each big-ticket program, the Defense Procurement Board, also under the MoD, wants more than one production agency to be selected.

The policy is delayed due to conflicting views within industry as well as government of India," said Rae, adding that there are concerns that sole-source procurement from a few companies will result in charges of favoritism and a lack of transparency.

Apart from divisions within the MoD, there have been differences within the private sector itself.

The strategic partnership model was recommended by MoD's sponsored Aatre Committee in April last, but it left a large number of loose ends to be tied up by the government before it could be operationalized. The devil is always in the detail. There are too many questions concerning [the ability to implement] the scheme, to which there are no easy answers, the criteria for selection of the partners being just one such issue," said Amit Cowshish, a former additional financial adviser for the MoD.

The SP policy is part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance's Make in India efforts, under which most of the weapons would be locally made in tie-ups with overseas companies. Currently, India imports about 65 percent of its weapon and equipment needs.

Private sector majors have been looking forward to the implementation of the strategic partners model," said Jayant Damodar Patil, the senior vice president for defense and aerospace at private engineering giant Larsen & Tourbo.

Without such a model, private sector would continue to remain fringe players in the sector, as is evident from the meager volume of contracts being placed on them thus far by the MoD.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/355816-indian-leadership-change-may-lead-to-strategic-partners-policy-delay

Suicide Attack Near Dhaka Airport Ahead of Bangladesh PM's India Visit

Suicide Attack Near Dhaka Airport Ahead of Bangladesh PM's India Visit
Suicide Attack Near Dhaka Airport Ahead of Bangladesh PM's India Visit

Suicide bomber on Friday night struck near the Dhaka airport triggering red alert fortnight ahead of PM Sheikh Hasina's April 7-10 India visit in what can be described as sending a signal to several counter-terror operations launched by the local government over last few weeks.

Suicide Attack Near Dhaka Airport Ahead of Bangladesh PM's India Visit
Suicide Attack Near Dhaka Airport Ahead of Bangladesh PM's India Visit

Suicide bomber on Friday night struck near the Dhaka airport triggering red alert fortnight ahead of PM Sheikh Hasina's April 7-10 India visit in what can be described as sending a signal to several counter-terror operations launched by the local government over last few weeks.

Senior Bangladeshi officials told ET from Dhaka that a 'suicide attacker' exploded a bomb apparently in an attempted offensive on a police box at the entrance to Dhaka’s international airport, killing only himself.

The attacker, described as a young man by an airport police officer, could not be identified immediately. However, the incident triggered prompt action by the Bangladeshi authorities who announced a red alert in the area.

The terror attack comes close on the heels of several counter-terror operations against JMB and HuJI terror operatives launched by the Hasina government across Bangladesh in last few weeks ahead of her India trip. Security cooperation including new mechanisms will be put in place when Hasina meets PM Narendra Modi on April 8 here. Bangladesh has been a steadfast partner for India in counter-terror actions since 2009.

A counter-terror operation is currently ongoing in the Shylet region of Bangladesh against den of terrorists, officials said, adding the local forces have launched several counter-terror actions across the nation in last few weeks. HuJI commander Mufti Hannan is slated to be hanged by the Hasina government reflecting the PM's resolve on zero tolerance against terror, her aides claimed.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/355815-suicide-attack-near-dhaka-airport-ahead-of-bangladesh-pm-s-india-visit

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