New Delhi, Apr 12 : In a landmark move, the ministry of defence has asked defence attaches posted in foreign nations to meet, brief and consult South Block at least once in a year, about what's happening in the world with regard to defence equipment, technologies and markets.
At an event organised by think tank Vivekananda International Foundation here on Friday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, "We had to make it a point that Defence Attaches please come here at least once in a year to sit and consult what we should do.... The DAs should be at least alerted to what's happening in other parts of the world as regards to defence equipments. And therefore, this is for the second time.. last year during defence expo and this year during aero show we had the defence attaches come and tell us about what's happening in the world, purchases, markets and related production and so on."
So far the defence attaches used to report to ministry of external affairs but Ms Sitharaman made sure that they will also consult her ministry at least once in a year in a bid to know about the global demand and update relating to defence.
"I was really surprised. Our defence attaches don't even report to the ministry. Once posted out they deal with embassy, the foreign service and ambassador but hang on what's happening in the global world .. tell me at least every six months. The reports come through MEA but why should it come through MEA. After all, you are defence attaches there and tell me what's happening there. Tell me what kind of technologies are attracting the globe towards that country or tell me if that nation needs some of the things you produce. Being a friendly country, I shouldn't have any problem in selling them," Ms Sitharaman said.
She also said work was in progress with regard to no return of unused money allocated to defence ministry. Voicing hope that developments would go fast when the new government comes to power, the defence minister said, "I talked with the finance ministry to make sure that the defence no longer will get a budget and does its expenditure for this year and sometimes it so happens that what you budgeted for doesn't happen this year, the money goes back unutilised to consolidated fund. And the next year when it matures you are still grappling with -- no we didn't plan for this year or I had to drop something else because of patchy way in which we plan. We made a clear demand to the finance ministry that once allocated it shall not go back and the committed expenditure whichever year that may happen, will happen from this fund which probably will get accumulated ....
"We have made sure that this negotiation with finance is happening and I can confidently say that there is positive response. But of course we got too close to elections time and we will have to wait for the next government to form," she added. (UNI)