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India to step up defence procurement

Published on Jun 7, 2014 11:00 PM
India's new Finance Minister and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley (C) attends the commissioning ceremony of the two Indian Coast Guard ships 'Achook' and 'Agrim' at naval dockyard in Mumbai June 7, 2014. --PHOTO: REUTERS

MUMBAI (AFP) - India's military, one of the world's largest arms importers, aims to speed up defence procurement in the interests of "national security", the country's new defence minister announced Saturday.

The policy announcement comes just after the new right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in late last month.

India's weapons acquisition programme was bogged down by a string of graft scandals under the previous Congress led government of Manmohan Singh that was ousted in general elections staggered over April and May.

"National security is an issue which has always been a priority issue for us (the BJP)," Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters.

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