VIPs expressing concern over strategic partners: Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said he has been getting many letters from VIPs expressing concern over the idea of selecting strategic partners in defence. The defence ministry had set up a task force under former DRDO chief V.K. Aatre to suggest the way ahead on identifying strategic partners for defence manufacturing in selected fields. "Despite a task force, you may not necessarily come out with an offer which will not be controversial... That depends on whose interest the task force finally serves..." Parrikar said. "I am facing a similar scenario in strategic partners, after the window has been well defined, people have realised that they will not be able to get through the window. They have started canvassing that strategic partner.... defence ministry is facing lot of problems," he said. Parrikar is holding a series of meetings with representatives from industries related to defence over strategic partners, the first round of which was held in April end. After a report from the Dhirendra Singh committee that suggested finding strategic partners for high end defence production, a task force was constituted by the defence ministry under former DRDO chief Aatre. The committee's report has been submitted, and it has categorised the sectors in two groups. The first includes aircraft, helicopters, aero engines, submarines, warships, guns, including artillery guns, and armoured vehicles including tanks, and it has been suggested that only one partner should be finalised for these. The second group includes metallic material and alloys, non-metallic material, including composites and polymers, and ammunition including smart ammunition, for which the Task Force said two partners can be identified.