Friday, 10 February 2017

Defence Resolution of SPI passed in 4th National Convention held in Lucknow on 14-15 November 2016


Defence Resolution of SPI passed in 4th National Convention held in Lucknow on 14-15 November 2016
          The present BJP government at the centre is implementing anti-constitution neo-liberal policies at a faster pace than the previous UPA government. The most striking example of this is increasing the FDI limit in defence equipments manufacturing to 100% from the earlier limit of 49%; and the government is working overtime signing defence related agreements with various foreign companies. The only condition government has put for this is that once FDI reaches 100% it will need government's permission. All other essential restrictions and conditions imposed on foreign investment in the Defence sector have been removed. For instance, under the Arms Act of 1959, the manufacture of small weapons and ammunition was to be done within the country only. For this FDI was not needed. Now this is not the case. Another thing to be taken into account is that earlier there was a condition for FDI that it was supposed to transfer technology to India. But now, even this condition has been withdrawn. This means that foreign companies can now manufacture with old technology or just acquire an Indian company and do their business. Therefore the biggest example of “Make in Foreign” under the Modi government's “Make in India” campaign is of allowing 100% FDI in Defence sector. This move is both shocking and ironic as it encourages “Make in Foreign” rather than “Make in India”.
          Another important restriction on FDI in the earlier regime was that foreign companies were required to make a joint venture with the original equipment manufacturer. Now this condition has been removed. This will make foreign companies operate at same level as Indian companies. This means stiff competition for Indian manufacturers. It will not be long before foreign companies take over Indian companies.
          The dangers of agreements with foreign companies are not just financial and technological. There is always a danger of leaking designs of defence equipments to enemies. Recently a case validating this suspicion came into light when 22,400 pages of documents leaked from the data bank of French submarine manufacturer DCNS, which has the contract of manufacturing submarines at Goa. Investigations show that the leak occurred at some South Asian location, and via China it reached Pakistan. Though government has ensured a probe, but so far there is no action against the company. The government has not even initiated the cancelation of the contract of manufacturing the submarines with the French company. Meanwhile a deal has been signed for purchase of Rafale French fighter jets. It is alleged that the said deal is the costliest in the history of our defence sector purchases. Government will purchase 36 Rafale jets for a total of Rs. 59,000 crores, which means that each jet will cost a whopping Rs. 1600 crores!
          Raising any question/suspicion on defence related issues is fussed about in an ugly way now-a-days. Country's Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju’s statement that a new culture of questioning the defence forces is taking shape and it is wrong is a specimen of such mind-set. The armed forces, security and defence deals are being made a question of patriotism and pride in such a way that people, media and organisations would desist from raising questions. In such a scenario, we will not even be in a position to address corruption scams in the defence sector like the Bofors scam. In our democracy elected government and the parliament take decisions on all defence related issues. Therefore questions and suspicion are raised about the government and not the armed forces. There is a conscious attempt to soft-pedal the voice against the present government in the guise of armed forces.
          The farce of government's OROP (One Rank One Pension) claim has exposed by the tragic suicide of a 70 year old ex-army man. The irony is that opposition parties like AAP and Congress are making it an emotional issue, which is being used taken advantage of by the ruling BJP.
          So, on one hand the government is escalating tensions at the border and signing new defence deals with Russia, France and USA and on the other hand soldiers coming from poor and farmers' families are being abandoned to commit suicide. Furthermore, there is an attempt that playing politics and raising emotional fervour in the name of armed forces is a sole right of one party i.e. BJP; and citizens/ media do not have a right to seek or furnish information and to ask questions in this matter!
          The Socialist Party firmly believes that when the present government has jeopardized national security and the interests of the armed forces by opening the defence sector to trade by foreign companies, there should be maximum possible transparency and discussion on defence related issues. The Socialist Party also demands that permission for 100% FDI in the defence sector be withdrawn immediately.

Thus stands the Socialist Party
Upholding brotherhood and equality

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