By N C Bipindra
Express News Service
New Delhi: Was Defence Minister AK Antony party to his ministry’s decision to waive rules in favour of US aerospace major Boeing to escape its obligation to plough back $1.74 billion as offset into the Indian defence and aerospace industry? India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has put the defence ministry on the mat over the $4.1-billion deal with Boeing to supply 10 C-17 Globemaster heavy lift cargo planes for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and eight P-8I Poseidon long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft for the Indian Navy.
The defence offset policy mandates that a foreign vendor who wins any Indian defence contract worth over Rs 300 crore ($55 million) should plough back at least 30 per cent of the deal back into India. The P8-I deal worth $2.1 billion was signed in January 2009 and it was to bring $641 million as offset to India, while the C-17 deal worth $4.1 billion was signed in June 2011, providing for at least $1.1 billion in offset.
India was listed as the top weapons importer by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in 2011—$12 billion, the same year in which it emerged as the third largest buyer of American weaponry ($4.5 billion). Future deals with the US include a payout of $3.5 billion.
(Full report here: www.newindianexpress.com)