Deshbhakt U Turn: India Changes Rules, Middlemen Allowed for Defence Deals

New Delhi(NDTV): A new policy legalizing middlemen in arms purchases, a source of massive controversies in the past, will be in place soon, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.

India Changes Rules, Middlemen Allowed for Defence Deals

“The middle men have to be declared and their commission cannot be linked to the outcome of negotiations,” Mr Parrikar told NDTV on Tuesday.

The government will also allow these agents to participate in meetings to help the company they represent, the minister said, since it may not be possible for official representatives to attend all meetings in India.

Middlemen or defence agents were banned for years after the multi-million dollar scandal in the 1980s involving alleged kickbacks paid to politicians and officials in the purchase of Bofors guns when the Congress was in power.

In 2003, a report recommended legalizing middlemen and making negotiations transparent, but it failed to end corruption as no agent registered with the government.

Mr Parrikar said his ministry could give conditioned and limited approval to dealing with banned defence firms.

Mr Parrikar took charge as Defence Minister last month, at a time the attention of Indian soldiers at the border have been on ceasefire violations by Pakistan.

The forces have been told not to hold back when retaliating to border firing, the minister said.

“The forces have been told to retaliate with double the energy in case of ceasefire violations along the International Border and the Line of Control,” he told NDTV.