Inviting the private sector for active participation in the defence industry, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said he will not be afraid of taking decisions for fear of attracting complaints of corruption.
Singh also said the Centre is committed in exploiting the entrepreneurship spirit of private defence sector and ready to interact and resolve their problems in the plans to take the Indian defence industry to the size of USD 26 billion by 2025.
Stating that his doors are always open, he urged the private companies to come forward as he would like to give all help wherever possible. Singh is scheduled to travel to Paris on October 7 on a three-day visit, primarily to receive the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
The next day, Singh will fly a sortie in a Rafale fighter jet from a French airbase in Paris to gain first-hand experience of the aircraft.
Speaking at the India International Security Expo, which was organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singh said India cannot remain dependent on imported weapons for long since it did not align with the country’s plans to become a superpower.
The minister said that when he became the defence minister people told him he should be careful on whom to meet and who to allow entry, as there could be scope for inviting complaints of corruption. “They said that there are many business-related proposals, and there are matters related to imports and exports, and the minister should be careful of all this otherwise someone will raise a finger (‘Nahi to ungli uth jayegi’).
“A minister who is afraid of corruption charges, should refrain (from taking decisions), Rajnath Singh is not worried about all this. People and big industry organisations in this country know who is what (‘kaun kya hai’). I am not worried at all. Come. My doors are open. Whatever help I can give, the defence ministry will give. This is an assurance I would like to give you,” he said.
Defence procurement has often been dogged by allegations of corruption. Singh also said his ministry had taken many steps to boost Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) in the defence sector and liberalised industrial licensing. “I would like to tell you that in order to reach our aim, we have to walk a long road. However, it is my absolute belief that by 2025, we would take the Indian defence industry to the size of USD 26 billion,” he added.
The minister said that he would like to assure that this government is totally open when it comes to receiving new ideas. “We are completely committed to exploit the the entrepreneurship spirit and energy of private sector. The government is ready to have an open discussion with you as a friend, philosopher and guide. If you have any problems, we are ready to resolve them,” he added.
There is no other effective interface between industry and the government than such events and expos, the minister noted.