Can't compel armed forces to buy from Indian firm: Sitharaman
New Delhi : Amid allegations of corruption in Rafale fighter jet deal, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday that she cannot compel the armed forces to buy equipment from any specific Indian company.
Addressing an event here at the India Defence Conclave 2018 as Chief Guest, she also said that military procurement had been simplified and were happening speedily but with "due diligence intact".
"The armed forces who actually use the equipment should be convinced. It is not necessary that armed forces will have to be bound by me or forced by me or compelled by me... oh no... This is Indian company and you buy only from them. I can't say that to them," the Minister said at the event organised by the Defence Innovators and Industry Association.
"I have to work to make sure their operational preparedness is in no way curbed."
She said that it was up to the companies to convince the armed forces that their product was "good enough".
"It's up to them to take a call on what is good enough for them. And if you are able to convince what is good enough for them what you are producing... nothing can stop it," she said.
The Minister's remarks come at a time when the opposition has sharpened its attack on the Modi government over the Rafale deal. The government has denied any wrongdoing.
Lauding her predecessors Manohar Parikkar and Arun Jaitley, Sitharaman said they had not only simplified defence procurement procedure but also ensured transparency.
"Procurement has simplified. Procurement is happening with due diligence intact, but it is happening speedily," she said.