Decision on SP and FICV expected soon, Arun Jaitley to continue as Defence Minister for a longer duration than expected, Sources.

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Defence minister Arun Jaitley may tinker slightly with the strategic partnership (SP) model readied by the ministry under Manohar Parrikar. An early decision on the FICV project is also expected shortly, official sources said

According to official sources, internal discussions took place between Jaitley and senior bureaucrats on the issues in seeking immediate attention. An early decision on SP model as also on the much delayed FICV project has been prioritised as those amongst the over dozen odd other issues, officials added

While it was not immediately known what final shape the SP policy will take, the document prepared under Parrikar states that the probable strategic partners with be selected based on a variety of parameters including financial capability, technical strength, assets, manufacturing and infrastructure facilities besides engineering strengths and past performance.

As per the proposed policy, atleast 3-4 companies will be selected and then the foreign OEM will select the appropriate partner.

There could also be two foreign OEMs (with sufficient technical capabilities) selecting two different Indian companies as partners for a particular segment (fighter aircrafts, submarines and helicopters).

These shortlisted parties including an foreign OEM and it’s Indian partner will them compete through commercial bids for securing the final orders.

This could well be the first big policy initiative by Jaitley in the coming days.

Sources said a decision on the FICV proposal is also one of the identified priorities.

The FICV proposal as readied by the MoD had been stuck following some observations by the finance ministry which now with Jaitley holding the dual charge will be expedited, senior MoD sources said.

Sources also pointed out that Mr Jaitley may continue as India’s defence minister for a much longer time than what is being thought of by observers as a minister in charge in the interim.

The coming days are crucial and are expected to unfold the much awaited initiatives from the defence ministry and as expected by the industry players.

The defence sector has been identified as the biggest contributor in the government’s Make in India initiative.

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