Monday, October 15, 2012

Exclusive! Another anonymous letter! Ploy to hold back decision?

Neelam Mathews
Oct 15, 2012 

Yes, we have a defense minister who has done all he can humanly possible to keep his image clean. But in the process, we fear, he has sacrificed making decisions that are said to be important to the nation's security. The question is where does one draw the line? It is, unfortunately, this very admirable quality that is being exploited by self serving companies who find themselves having lost the competition they were bidding, to stall projects.
To add to a list of hundreds, is a recent letter, Aerospace Diary learns, that has been sent to the Defense Minister from Anonymous'! Convenient. The anonymous ten-pager cites "gross infirmities in the trials of the army's light utility helicopter- a bid released for the second time, for which trials were completed in 2010! 
Anonymous mentions non-certification of both the helicopters by international certification agencies at time of submission of bids and says the "doctored" GSQRs were tailor made for the two finalists, Eurocopter and Russian Helicopters. 
Now to the crux. "Presently HAL's Cheetah can also make three sorties without fuelling," it queries. "Why is there no transfer of technology asked for this project, is another question. It questions the sanity of twin versus single engines. And is really concerned about a losing bidder- "Why did Augusta Westland not pass trials 'when its deviations were marginal?" Ah haaa!
As the banter continues, one does feel letters such as these, undermine the very acquisition system of the Indian government, and frankly, are quite insulting.
In its desperation to be viewed "clean", the MoD is likely to fall into the trap and carry another investigation delaying the project further.
The thought here we have is- aren't we being held hostage to people/forces/companies with a selfish edge? Is it time to rethink.......time to incorporate a clause in the RFP, one that perhaps gives the bidders their rights, but not necessarily enough carrot to extend them beyond a point?

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