Can’t source defence equipment 100 percent from private sector: Parrikar

Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said defence equipment and weapons cannot be sourced 100 percent from the private sector.

The Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) needed to be an essential part of the defence manufacturing ecosystem, he said at a seminar organised by Assocham at the ongoing Defence Expo 2016 near here.

He also said procurement of defence equipment or weapons was not the first target of his ministry, but providing his troops with qualitative equipment in adequate quantity was of most importance.

“The first target of my ministry is not procurement. The first target is to ensure that the armed forced are provided with the best equipment and the quantity adequate that they remain effective,” Parrikar said.

His reaction came in response to an earlier request made by Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Assocham) president Sunil Kanoria to ease the role of the Ordnance Factories Board and defence-related public sector undertakings vis-a-vis defence equipment manufacture.

Parrikar said the private sector was driven by profits and it was only the government which was in a position to sustain skilled manpower, equipment-manufacturing infrastructure over prolonged periods of time even to produce small quantities of equipment or weaponry.