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Friday, 11 May 2012

From Today's Papers - 11 May 2012
IAF to get new trainer aircraft
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
Ending years of shortage for a basis training aircraft for young trainee pilots of the Indian Air Force, the Cabinet Committee on Security tonight cleared a major deal of $700 million (approximately Rs 2,900 crore) to buy 75 single-engined aircraft from Swiss company Pilatus.

The company will be selling its Pilatus PC-7 Mk-II turboprop aircraft in a twin-seat configuration which will allow a trainer to guide the rookie pilots. These are piston engined and fly at low speeds, allowing the rookie pilots to get a feel of flying as they graduate to the second level of training and then onwards to the fighters. Without the basic trainer, IAF rookie pilots were being sent straightaway to the second stage of training on the Kiran-Mk II aircraft.

The lack of a basic trainer since 2009 has seriously hit the pilot training programme. Although the Swiss company was shortlisted last year, a competing Korean aircraft maker Korean Aerospace Industries, which lost the contract, protested. It had pitched in with its KT-1 trainer.
Elite IAS cadre faces 30 per cent shortfall
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, May 10
It is not just the Armed Forces which are facing acute shortage in the officer cadre, country’s elite IAS has a shortfall of close to 30 per cent with Uttar Pradesh leading the list with 216 missing Indian Administrative Service personnel.

Minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy told the Rajya Sabha today that against the total authorised strength of 6,154 IAS officers in the country, only 4,377 were actually in position, 3,392 through direct recruitment and the rest (985) by the way of promotions from State services.

“IAS officers are borne to the state cadres. They, however, serve the Government of India on Central deputation. Out of the total authorised strength of 6,154 IAS officers in the country, the Central Deputation Reserve (CDR) is 1,331 enabling the IAS officers to serve Centre on deputation. Of these, 675 IAS officers are in position as on April 1, 2012,” he said.

In all, there is a shortage of 1,777 IAS officers in the country, with UP having the highest number of vacant post at 216, followed by Bihar (128), Madhya Pradesh (118), Rajasthan (112) and Jharkhand (100). Punjab has a shortfall of 60 IAS officers, Haryana (27), Jammu and Kashmir (46), Himachal Pradesh (28) and Uttrakhand (36). The numbers have the potential to delay, if not impair, implementation of crucial developmental projects.

Now the reasons for the shortage of officers at cutting levels of administration, both at the State and the Centre, are many.

According to the minister, the government had accepted the Paswan Committee recommendations on the requirement of IAS officers. The panel had made 13 recommendations, including cadre review every five years and states sending names well in advance to the Centre for the purpose of empanelling officers and also promotee officers. However, disputes were pending relating to the promotee officers at the state level.

There were litigations against promotion of state cadre officers to the rank of IAS in states like UP, while the Odisha government had not send the list of officers to be promoted. “We are trying to reduce the disputes and finish the cases as early as possible. Sometimes what happens is, the ACRs of the officers are not sent in time. There are several deficiencies while considering the promotion quota and also in the process of filling up of the posts,” the minister said.

“If all states cooperate, vacancies will come down to 15%," he said, adding the Centre was working with States to see vacancies are filled at the earliest.

UP bears the brunt

Overall, there is a shortage of 1,777 IAS officers in the country. UP has the highest number of vacant post at 216, followed by Bihar (128), Madhya Pradesh (118), Rajasthan (112) and Jharkhand (100). Punjab has a shortfall of 60 IAS officers, Haryana (27), Jammu and Kashmir (46), Himachal Pradesh (28) and Uttrakhand (36).

Teething troubles

n Disputes pending relating to the promotee officers at the state level

n There were litigations against promotion of state cadre officers

n States like Odisha government have not send the list of officers to be promoted

n Sometimes, the ACRs of the officers are not sent in time
Tejinder withdraws plea against Gen VK Singh
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 10
In a surprise move, retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh today withdrew from the Supreme Court his petition seeking a CBI probe into the alleged role of the outgoing Army Chief Gen VK Singh in the reported interception of telephone calls.

A SC Bench allowed senior counsel Rajiv Dhavan to take back the petition. Dhavan said his client wanted to take his complaint to an “appropriate forum.”

Tejinder had filed the petition in the wake of Gen VK Singh’s allegation that Tejinder offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore to award a contract to a private company for the purchase of trucks
Improving ties with Myanmar
The areas in which India can help
by Gen V.P. Malik (retd)

IN the early 1990s, when Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao declared India's 'Look East' policy, he must have been conscious that India could not exploit the full potential of this policy without opening the frozen land bridge to and through Myanmar.

Myanmar has a land border with five countries in South and Southeast Asia, straddles busy shipping lanes in the Bay of Bengal, and is rich in minerals, oil and gas reserves. It shares a 1600-km-long porus land border with India's northeastern states. Several insurgent groups from these states had been using ethnic and terrain shelter in Myanmar. Its long years of military rule and isolation, with China as the only economic and defence hardware partner, had given Beijing a huge strategic advantage. That notwithstanding, it was crucial for curbing militancy and economic development of India's northeastern states as well as for land connectivity with the rest of Southeast Asia.

Narasimha Rao sent Ambassador J N Dixit to Myanmar in 1993. That visit was helpful but did not create the necessary thaw between the two countries.

In 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra realised that despite the frozen political dialogue, armies on both sides were maintaining low-level border contacts. With Ambassador Shyam Saran in Myanmar, they decided to utilise military diplomacy.

After working out some details in New Delhi and Yangon, on January 5, 2000, I took a secret flight from Imphal to Mandalay where I was received ceremonially by Gen Maung Aye, Vice-Chairman and Deputy C-in-C, Myanmar Defence Forces, along with a large contingent of his Cabinet colleagues. We spent two days interacting informally and visiting nearby civil and military institutions. Thereafter, Maung Aye and his ministerial delegation followed me to Shillong Air Force Station to meet our ministerial delegation headed by the late Murasoli Maran and Kumaramangalam.

Over the next two days, while our delegations were engaged in working out details of infrastructure projects to be undertaken by India in Myanmar, Maung Aye and I (staying in the same bungalow) discussed the scope for further cooperation and how to deny cross-border sanctuaries to insurgents. Before his departure, I gave him a map marked with Indian insurgents' camps in Northwest Myanmar and requested him to have them raided. A fortnight later, the Myanmar Army carried out these raids. We achieved significant operational success in the raids and when these insurgents attempted to re-enter India.

I visited Myanmar again in July 2000 at the invitation of Maung Aye. This time the hosts gave us full opportunity to travel and meet officials and people in different parts of Myanmar. I met Chairman General Than Shwe and other leaders. Our cooperation by this time had extended well beyond insurgents' cross-border activities. It included mutually beneficial infrastructure projects, offer of seats in Indian technical institutions, participation in naval Exercise Milan in the Bay of Bengal, border trade and several other diplomatic issues.

On my return, I apprised Prime Minister Vajpayee that notwithstanding national or international popularity, the Myanmar military regime is likely to remain in the saddle for many years. China had gained marked influence, particularly in North and Northeast Myanmar. Unless we make efforts, this will extend to the west of the Irrawady River and in the south. The Myanmar government was keen to improve relations with India in the fields of economic development and technology, which ought to be reciprocated.

During the last 12 years, despite criticism from several domestic and Western quarters, Indo-Myanmar relations have travelled a long way. A steady stream of high-level visits from both sides has enhanced the dialogue and created mutually beneficial opportunities. India is involved in a host of infrastructure and energy projects in Myanmar. It has built the 160-km-long Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyoa road across the Manipur border and is building a 1200 MW hydel project on the Chindwin river. Besides, it has provided high-speed data link to many cities. Indian firms are working to develop Myanmar's railway network, including the supply of coaches and locos. Indian companies have acquired a 20 per cent stake in an oil block off the Rakhine coast. The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project and the Rhi-Tiddim projects (on the anvil), when completed, can transform India's North-East and bordering region.

Last year, India and Myanmar signed a number of agreements and MoUs for the upgradation of Yangon Children's Hospital and Sittwe General Hospital and a programme of cooperation in science and technology. India has extended lines of credit worth $300 million for the development of railways, transport, power transmission lines, oil refinery, and OFC link and announced the extension of a new concessional facility of $500 million line of credit for specific projects. It will set up an Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education in Yezin, a Rice Bio Park in Naypyidaw (new capital of Myanmar), an Information Technology Institute in Mandalay, and an Industrial Training Centre at Myingyan. Myanmar has agreed to encourage further investments by Indian companies, both public and private, in its oil and natural gas sectors. Both countries have set a target of doubling bilateral trade to $3 billion by 2015.

Meanwhile, there have been important political developments in Myanmar in the last two years. President Thein Sein's nominally civilian government has replaced military rule and carried out a number of reforms like the release of political prisoners and relaxation of media restrictions. It has suspended China-backed $3.6 billion Myitsone dam hydel power project in Kachin State. After the recent by-elections, pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi and her party leaders have joined Parliament, although that continues to be dominated by the military. This shift is an assertion of India's policy of engaging the military government of Myanmar. Now, when leaders from the US, the UK, France and Australia are making a beeline for Naypyidaw and inclined to lift sanctions imposed by them earlier, India has an advantage and a huge opportunity to move into high gear dynamics of its regional and 'Look East' policy.

This month, when Dr Manmohan Singh travels to Myanmar to participate in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), he needs to encourage President Thein Sein's vision of a new Myanmar. He should look into the following areas to enhance our relations with Myanmar and for regional economic prosperity:

Declare India's support to Myanmar on the lifting of sanctions and getting it full international acceptability.

Increase investment in Myanmar's economic and social projects in the form of grants and soft loans. This can be utilised to build infrastructure in Myanmar like the Dawei Special Industrial Zone on Myanmar's south-western coast and enhancing connectivity among India, Myanmar and Thailand. A high-level mechanism of officials can be set up to focus on greater connectivity and India's usual problem of inefficient project implementation.

Enhance people-to-people contacts through liberalisation of educational and cultural cooperation, development of border areas and tourism infrastructure.

Upgrade security relations between the two countries through strategic dialogues, border management and enhanced cooperation in aerospace and maritime security.

Establishing a Joint Economic Commission to take a comprehensive view of bilateral economic relationship, a forum comprising businessmen on both sides can be set up to increase Indian investments in minerals, energy and agriculture sectors in Myanmar. Share the experience in strengthening democratic and multi-ethnic institutions in Myanmar as we are doing in Afghanistan.
When the going gets tough…
It's a hint of the times, perhaps, that nobody really asked if the constitution allows the Army Chief to make political statements. Nobody suggested, at some point in time, it would help greatly if he focused on the 'mistakes, shortcomings' of his own institution.
Abbas Nasir

WHENEVER politics in Pakistan hits choppy waters conspiracy theorists come into their own, clarity becomes a victim, all of us struggle to find the truth and get obsessed with the 'nuance'.

Pakistan Army Chief Gen A Kayani (L) and Tehreek-e-Insaf Party chief Imran Khan
Pakistan Army Chief Gen A Kayani (L) and Tehreek-e-Insaf Party chief Imran Khan

But who'd blame our tribe? How are we expected to provide lucidity to a discourse when many of us have contributed to the chaotic scenario staring us in the face? Whether our role was spurred by competitive pressures or ideological considerations is immaterial quite frankly.

If you are struggling to make sense of a single word so far, my future as an analyst, as a soothsayer, is as secure as that of the chief of army staff. I am embarrassed to concede there was the temptation to say the elected prime minister.

But by the time this appears in print, who knows, the detailed verdict may be out giving short shrift to my analysis. That would spell disaster for my career as someone whose 'reliable and respected' insight allows some readers to help understand complex issues and the writer to pay the bills.

Does this mean, I can afford to hold my piece (yeah, yeah I know the spelling) till the final verdict or till the first tank appears on Islamabad's famed Constitution Avenue, aptly termed Eighth Amendment Avenue all through the years the sacred document was all but superseded by it?

Definitely not! It isn't without reason that 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going' remains my favourite guiding principle. Which analyst worth their salt would shy away from analysis on the mere pretext that they are confused too and can't make head or tail of the situation? Lamest of lame excuses, you'd say.

For one who is always partial to things psychedelic, the current backdrop is an incentive rather than the opposite. Let's start with Gen Kayani's address to a large open-air audience in the GHQ grounds. The occasion was a remembrance for our fallen soldiers.

The general's speech was 'nuanced', given the political situation. So nuanced that one side of the political divide latched on to his recommendation for 'equal justice to all' while the other gleefully embraced his view that 'all organs (institutions) of the state should respect the constitution' and stay within its bounds.

It's a hint of the times, perhaps, that apart from a lonely editorial in this paper, nobody really asked if the constitution allows the army chief to make political statements. Nobody suggested, at some point in time, it would help greatly if he focused on the 'mistakes, shortcomings' of his own institution.

We aren't talking of minor transgressions here, overt as well as covert, or the most serious, the subversion of the constitution. We only need him to focus on the second line of defence his organ of the state has chosen and what that's done to our society, sanity and security.

And if he is trying to rein in this galloping monster no matter how slowly, as many of his supporters say, then we can only applaud and welcome that. We know how committed some of his predecessors were to this insane ideology of hate.

In a week which we saw scenes bordering on the suicidal in the National Assembly, reviving fears of, well, the known, the Supreme Court short order holding the country's chief executive guilty of contempt continued to provide grist to the analysts' mill whatever their preferred medium.

They were as diverse in their reading (one has to be polite and civil, doesn't one?) of the situation as the politicians.

Perhaps spooked by perceived PTI inroads into PML-N's bastion of Punjab and succumbing finally to hardliners Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and younger brother Shahbaz, Nawaz Sharif decided to go on the front foot in announcing he was seeking the prime minister's ouster by any means possible.

In contrast, the great Khan's cricketing instinct prevailed. He decided to wait for the detailed verdict and play the ball on merit. Having been a feared fast bowler and having faced equally fiery ones, perhaps he knows best how a bouncer can imperil a batsman going prematurely on to the front foot.

But his detractors would say, without proof of course, his caution has more to do with the retirement of ISI chief Shuja Pasha and hence the lack of decisive counsel. This would predictably lead to cries of derision in every shade of the language from his fanatical supporters.

Talking of attempts to get on to the front foot, the government came up with its own effort. A resolution reposing confidence was passed in different sittings of the two Houses of parliament. But this supposed triumph was soured too.

Another resolution passed to express support for the creation of a separate province in southern Punjab was apparently moved in the National Assembly without consulting the ANP allies and, by the evening, their senior spokesman Zahid Khan was saying his party hadn't voted for it.

If all this doesn't leave you confused try this. All through the initial days of the memogate controversy, we saw press photographs, footage of meetings between our civilian and military-intelligence heads looking exceedingly grim, to say the least.

Then we saw apex-level consultation on restarting relations with the US. In the footage, the President was apparently cracking a joke which brought a muted smile to the army chief's lips (I am told he doesn't laugh).

The sight of a laughing Rehman Malik wasn't surprising as his loyalty to his leader would so warrant. The Prime Minister also smiles frequently. But yes, the broadest, widest grin adorned the face of the otherwise serious, moustached, even fierce-looking, new chief of the ISI.

Now how significantly nuanced is the ISI chief's reaction to the PPP leader's joke? Please let me know if you figure it out. I promise to do the same if I have any luck. As long, of course, as we don't tell each other the smile is the precursor to the proverbial last laugh.s
Defence Research and Development Organisation plans to equip Agni-V with multiple warhead
New Delhi:  Agni-V, India's most powerful ballistic missile with a strike range of over 5,000 kms, is set to get substantially higher destruction capabilities as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) plans to equip it with multiple warheads.

Comparing Agni-V missile to the best in the world, DRDO chief Dr VK Saraswat said, "It is a game changer missile... It has taken the missile technology to the highest level and matches with the best and the current world standards. We are working in this area. It will take time for us to develop but our work is on."

Known as the Multiple Independently Targeted Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV), the missile would be capable of carrying multiple warheads to destroy several targets.
Asked about the plans in that regard, he said, "Basic vehicle (missile) will remain the same. The first three stages will also remain the same and only the kill vehicle or the payload delivery system will need changes."
Terming it as a "force multiplier", the DRDO chief said, "If I am able to do force multiplication with this... where I was using four missiles, I may use only one missile. So it becomes a force multiplier given the damage potential."

Such a capability exists only with a select few countries such as the US, Russia and China.

MIRV missiles are equipped with small on-board rocket motors and computerised inertial guidance system which manoeuvres warheads to several different trajectories.
Britain confirms U-turn over F-35 jets
London:  Britain confirmed on Thursday that it has reversed its choice of fighter jets for future aircraft carriers, ditching the preferred conventional take-off version of the US-built F-35 for a jump-jet model.

The latest turnaround by the coalition government deals a blow to a defence deal between Britain and France as it means that planned Royal Navy aircraft carriers will no longer be equipped to handle French aircraft.

Defence minister Philip Hammond told parliament that delays and spiralling costs caused by the need to fit carriers with catapults to launch the planes and special arrester gear to trap them when they land were unacceptable.

The government was therefore ditching the conventional take-off and landing F-35C joint strike fighter (JSF), reportedly preferred by Prime Minister David Cameron, in favour of the shorter-range jump-jet F-35B model.

"I can announce to the House today that the National Security Council has decided not to proceed with the cats (catapults) and traps conversion but to complete both carriers in the STOVL (short take-off vertical landing) configuration," Hammond said.

"When the facts change, the responsible thing to do is to examine the decisions you have made and to be willing to change your mind, however inconvenient that may be," Hammond said.

Britain is currently without any aircraft carriers following a strategic review unveiled by the coalition government in 2010 as part of wide-ranging austerity measures aimed at cutting a record deficit.

Hammond said the decision on the F-35s meant that Britain would now have its two new planned carriers in service sooner and that it would be able to keep both in operation, instead of mothballing one as had been anticipated.

He said that the cost of fitting catapults and arrester wires to the carriers had doubled in the last 17 months from initial estimates of 950 million pounds to around 2 billion pounds.

But it risks being seen as yet another gaffe for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, which has made a series of recent policy U-turns and faces growing pressure over its dogged adherence to austerity over growth.

The change is also an awkward start to Britain's relationship with French president-elect Francois Hollande, as it goes back on an Anglo-French pact signed in 2010 that involved sharing aircraft carriers.

Without catapults and arrester wires, French naval Rafale jets will not be able to operate from the new British carriers.

Hammond said however that after work with "allies" the government had decided that "emphasis on carrier availability, rather than cross-deck operations, is the more appropriate route to optimising alliance capabilities."

The F-35 Lightning II, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is touted as the backbone of America's future air fleet and and 11 other allied countries, but has been dogged by technical problems.

At an estimated $385 billion, the F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons programme.
Pakistan says it test-fires short-range missile
Pakistan's military says it has successfully test-fired a short-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

A military statement says the Hatf III Ghaznavi with a range of 290 kilometers (180 miles) was launched Thursday at the conclusion of the annual field training exercise of Army Strategic Force Command.
t is the second such test by Pakistan in the past two weeks. On April 25, Pakistan launched what it said was an intermediate-ranged missile after its archenemy India conducted its own missile test.

The country routinely test-fires what it claims are indigenously developed missiles.

The world community closely watches Pakistan's weapons program as it has fought three wars with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India, since 1947.
Pakistan calls off Sir Creek talks with India
Islamabad: Pakistan has asked India to reschedule talks on the Sir Creek border dispute which were to be held in New Delhi next week, diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

The Pakistani side has sought fresh dates later this month or in June for talks on the Sir Creek issue, the sources said.

The sources said fresh dates would be decided through diplomatic consultations.

The reasons for Pakistan's decision could not immediately be ascertained.

Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan had recently announced that representatives of the two countries would meet in New Delhi during May 14-16 to discuss the Sir Creek issue.

India and Pakistan will hold their next round of talks on the military standoff on Siachen glacier in Islamabad during June 11-12, Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said in a brief statement this evening.

According to sources, Pakistan seems keen on first having the defence secretaries level talks to assess the Indian position on Siachen Glacier dispute before it wants to reveal its own cards vis-à-vis Sir Creek, which both sides feel is easily doable.

The defence talks are likely on June 11, as announced by Indian Defence Minister AK Antony in Parliament earlier this week.

The next round of talks on the military standoff on Siachen glacier is scheduled for mid-June.

Representatives from Pakistan's powerful military play a key role in talks on both Sir Creek and Siachen.

Pakistan has considerably hardened its stand on the Sir Creek issue in recent months though the two sides had said they had made progress after a joint survey of the marshlands.

After 139 people were buried when an avalanche hit a high-altitude Pakistan Army camp in Siachen sector last month, several Pakistani leaders, including Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, have called for the demilitarisation of the glacier.

However, Kayani contended that India had hardened its position by seeking the demarcation of the Line of Control in the region.

Defence Minister AK Antony has said there is no change in India's stand on Siachen.

On the Sir Creek in the Rann of Kutch off India's Gujarat state, Pakistan, on the basis of a joint survey, had reworked its eastern bank, resulting in its claim extending up to the mouth of the adjoining Pir Sanai creek. This stand is not acceptable to India.

With regard to Siachen, a 72-km glacier in the Karakoram ranges in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region, Pakistan had in the last round of meeting insisted the India also include China in the talks, as it is too close to Siachen and consequently a part to the dispute.

This has been rejected by India, which is also not agreeable to Pakistan's suggestion that the two nations withdraw their troops from the inhospitable heights.

India has been insisting that Pakistan delineate the line of control in Siachen before the troops withdrawal is discussed.

Meanwhile, the two nation's home secretaries are scheduled to meet on May 24 and 25 in Islamabad, when issues relating to terror are likely to be discussed.

This round of talks between the two nations is an effort to build upon the discussion Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April during a personal visit to Ajmer and New Delhi.

During that meeting, it was felt that the two sides need to reinforce positive momentum in trade ties by focusing their diplomatic energy on making tangible progress on less contentious issues like Sir Creek and Siachen, which could form the basis for Manmohan Singh's visit to Pakistan.

Although the Pakistani side has been insisting on a Manmohan Singh visit before the year ends, India maintains that the timing will depend on forward movement on Islamabad taking action to bring 26/11 perpetrators to justice and against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

Ahead of Manmohan Singh's visit to Pakistan, the foreign ministers of the two nations will meet.
BEML draws CAG flak for overstatement of revenue in Tatra sale
Defence PSU BEML on Thursday drew flak from the CAG for "overstatement" of revenue and profits from sale of Tatra trucks, which are in controversy after army chief Gen VK Singh's claimed that he was offered a bribe to clear the procurement of these vehicles.

"Overstatement of revenue due
to incorrect recognition of sales in the accounts for the year ended 31 March 2010 was commented earlier by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

"The company continued the incorrect practice in the year 2010-11 also and recognised sales of Rs. 246.52 crore in respect of 306 Tatra vehicles based on offer of vehicles for inspection.... This resulted in overstatement of sales by Rs. 246.52 crore and profit by Rs. 25.31 crore," the CAG said in its report tabled on Thursday.

The government auditor stated that the amount was shown as Rs. 244.89 crore in the Notes of the Accounts instead of Rs. 246.52 crore.

It said the "non-compliance" was not reported in the Auditor's Report though the attention was drawn to the same.

Indian armed forces have been procuring the Tatra trucks through BEML, which assembles them in its facilities here.

The Tatra trucks deal landed in controversy after the Army Chief's allegations prompting the Defence Ministry to recommend a CBI inquiry into their acquisition.

Between 1986 and 2012, India has procured nearly 6,500 vehicles from Tatra of which 2,950 were procured between 1999 to 2002 by the Army under special circumstances after the Kargil war and Operation Parakram.
Army truck manufacturing not a priority: Pallam Raju
NEW DELHI: Amid the raging controversy over Tatra trucks procured by Indian Army, the government on Wednesday said truck manufacturing was not critical technology and so they were bought from private vendors.

"There is no need for us to manufacture everything," minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju said during question hour in Rajya Sabha.

Trucks were manufactured at Ordnance Factory, Jabalpur, and higher class of vehicles would be manufactured if it was felt that it was critical technology, he said. "As it is not critical technology, it (manufacture) is not given priority," he added.

Raju was responding to a question by BJP member Najma Heptullah who said leader of opposition Arun Jaitley had on Tuesday remarked that Indian defence forces could manufacture missiles and rockets but not trucks.

Heptullah, however, did not take the name of the truck (Tatra). Even the minister replied to her without naming the truck.

In March, Army chief General VK Singh had claimed that he was offered a bribe to clear sub-standard Tatra trucks, opening a can of worms.

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