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Polls will not hamper weapons acquisition: Fernandes


Friday 16 January 2004

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition en ligne du vendredi 16 janvier 2004.

NEW DELHI : Asserting that early elections would not slacken the pace of modernisation currently underway in the armed forces, Defence Minister George Fernandes on Friday said government would go ahead with the acquisition of some more major weapons systems.

"I don’t think early elections will in any way come in the way of procurements," he told reporters expressing optimism that the $1.6 billion deal with Russia for acquiring the 45,000 tonne aircraft carrier ’Admiral Gorshkov’ would go through during the upcoming visit of his Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov.

Fernandes said there were a number of other major armament deals in the pipeline, which were meant to be cleared before the close of the current financial year, and these should come through.

About the SOS sent by his ministry to the finance ministry for allocation of more funds for capital outlay, Fernandes, who was talking to newsmen after giving away prizes at the NCC investiture here, said, "the finance minister has been very generous".

The defence minister said Finance Minister Jaswant Singh had assure him that there would not be any kind of shortfall as far as country’s defence needs were concerned.

Elaborating on the Gorshkov deal, Fernandes said, "it should be through".

He said all the work that had to be done preceding the signing of the contract had been completed and the contract sent to Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for clearance.

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