Mirage crash not setback for indigenisation: Sitharaman

Mirage crash not setback for indigenisation: Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (PTI File Photo)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday accused the previous UPA government of doing "nothing" during its 10-year rule to upgrade Defence Public Sector Undertakings, two days after a Mirage-2000 crashed in Bengaluru during a sortie killing both the pilots.

She also said the crash of the trainer aircraft after an upgrade under a programme being carried out by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Friday was "not a setback for indigenisation". "It is a fact that many things have to be improved in PSUs."

Sitharaman said this to reporters in reply to a specific question on the crash and the reported statement of Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, who was in Bengaluru on the day of the jet crash, that while indigenisation is important, it comes with a price.

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"It was not a setback. For 10 years, they (UPA dispensation) did nothing to upgrade the DPSUs, whether it was HAL or BEL," the defence minister said.

She said the previous governments could have gone for capital investments in DPSUs, upgraded machinery skilled workers to international-level results.

"If they had done these things during the 10 years, the opportunity could have been there to take the PSUs at part with world standards, but they failed," Sitharaman said.

She said the NDA government is making efforts to upgrade the PSUs and also shipyards.