The numerous foreign delegations that frequently visit New Delhi to negotiate defence contracts and agreements present a study in contrast, as both sides wriggle through knotted procurement procedures to secure a share in the pie which India, as one of the world’s largest materiel importers, offers.
Groups of smartly dressed polyglots, spouting exotic languages, walk determinedly through the sombre and imposing corridors of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in South Block and the adjoining Bhawans, populated by military establishments, to negotiate assorted deals worth thousands of crores.
Principally, these delegations are from four countries – Russia, the US, France, and Israel – which have emerged as India’s foremost defence equipment providers. Their range of products includes combat and transport aircraft, attack and heavy-lift helicopters, maritime reconnaissance platforms, howitzers, warships, submarines, and minesweepers, alongside an assortment of missiles, ammunition and sundry kit and ordnance stores.
In their dealings the French display an appealing casual and Gallic charm that, over decades, has assured them a steady stream of orders for fighters, helicopters, and submarines. The Israelis are hard-headed, meticulous and determined negotiators.Read more…