A. K. Antony Defends India-US Military Pact
A. K. Antony
After the uproar in parliament over a pact that will enable the annual inspection of military hardware purchased from the US, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday defended the measure, saying it was the result of three years of tough efforts and that the government did not have any reservations about it.
"It has been signed after three years of hard bargaining. Everything has been sorted out. We do not have any reservations," Antony told the reporters.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party had staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha Tuesday to protest against the pact, terming it intrusive and saying it should not have been inked without taking parliament into confidence.
The End User Verification Agreement was signed on Monday during the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It is expected to sharply ramp up the sale of US military hardware to India.
Antony also confirmed the launch into the waters of India's first indigenously designed and built nuclear-powered attack submarine on July 26.
"It is happening on July 26. It is happening," said Antony.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur will break the traditional coconut on the vessel's hull as it is lowered into the waters for a series of extensive trials before being commissioned into the Indian Navy in about three years from now.