CHURUMURI POLL: Private players in defence?

Workers of the major public sector undertakings in Bangalore held a rally yesterday against the UPA government’s efforts to usher in private investment in the defence sector. They questioned the decision to shortlist companies such as Infosys, Tatas and Larsen & Toubro that have little or no expertise in defence related matters as “Raksha Utpadan Ratnas”. And they said the government was deliberately diverting orders from PSUs such as Hindustan Aeronautics, Bharat Electronics, Bharat Earth Movers Limited to such private players.

Questions: Is the reported move to allow private players in defence a good move or is it fraught with danger to the nation’s sovereignty and self-reliance? On what basis were these companies shortlisted? Will the participation of private players bring in efficiency and better technology? Or will it result in the profitable defence PSU companies being pushed to the brink? Will the private players be able to muster the resources on their own, or will they enter into tieups with foreign partners, thereby threatening the nation’s security?