PAC cautions against fast tracking defence acquisitions

Pulling up the Defence Ministry over the import of robotic de-mining equipment, a Parliamentary Committee today asked it and the three services to use fast track procedures for acquisition of weapons systems and platform only in “emergent unavoidable conditions”.

Stating that 40 sets of the equipment were imported 16 months after Operation Parakaram, when 97 per cent of the 10 lakh mines had already been manually removed on the Indo-Pak border, the Public Accounts committee has asserted that evoking fast track procedures in peace time led to payment of higher price and absence of equipment being tested in Indian conditions.

Though the import of robotic de-mining equipment at a cost of 19.05 million Euro (Rs 103.91 crores) from a Denmark firm was concluded in March 2003, the delivery of the equipment, sought on fast track basis, was stipulated over a period of nine months.

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