New Delhi: For a government that has been steadily outsourcing its defence needs to the United States of America, particularly in strategic sectors, a communication from the Indian Army chief to the defence minister may now have come as an unwelcome wake-up call. If reports are to be believed Indian Army chief Gen VK Singh has chosen to draw the attention of South Block's sleeping bureaucracy to the pitfalls involved in getting into cozy deals with the Americans through the government-to-government, or the Foreign Military Sales, route.
|The AN/TPQ-37 fire-finder radar|
According to reports, army chief General VK Singh has sent a communication to the defence minister AK Antony warning him about deals struck under the US government's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. The Indian government has been sourcing all its defence deals through this route.
Under the FMS route the US government procures equipment on behalf of the Indian government from private companies in the United States through Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).
The Indian Army's warning against FMS sales appears to have been issued after their frustrating experience with weapon-locating radars purchased in 2002 from US firm Raytheon.
Reports suggest that the army has had unending trouble with the maintenance of the dozen odd radars it has bought, with up to two-thirds of the pricey equipment out of action at times because of lack of maintenance.
The AN/TPQ-37 fire-finder weapon-locating radars were a breakthrough deal at that point of time and the first one struck by India in decades.