100% FDI in defence threat to national security: Anand Sharma

Shimla, June 22 (IANS) Former Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday said allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence meant “surrendering” to the pressure of the US lobby, a threat to national security and India’s foreign policy.

He said the decision came just after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.

“Allowing 100 per cent FDI in defence means India’s defence sector is thrown mostly into the hands of American companies. The national interests have been ignored,” the Congress lawmaker told reporters here.

He said the decision would have an adverse impact on the ongoing indigenous defence research in the country.

Sharma also said easing FDI norms in the health sector would impact the domestic industry.

Sharma explained that the FDI was permitted by the previous Congress government in greenfield projects only where new facilities were to be established with 100 per cent FDI.

But for brownfield projects, where the acquisition or takeover of existing pharmaceutical industry was required, 100 per cent was allowed only after government’s consent.

“I fail to understand why the preconditions imposed by the previous UPA government that were necessary to protect the interests of the country and its people have been changed. It is clearly the pressure of US lobby which has been pushing for removal of these preconditions,” Sharma added.

He asked the government to explain why 100 per cent FDI was allowed both in greenfield and brownfield projects.

The liberalised FDI regime announced by the central government on Monday permits up to 100 per cent foreign equity in the defence sector as India looks ahead to increasing indigenous manufacturing in defence under the ‘Make in India’ programme.

Sharma further accused the Modi government of carrying out a vendetta against political rivals in its two years of rule.

He condemned the government for victimising and insulting the Congress chief ministers in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and toppling the government in Arunachal Pradesh.

“The Prime Minister and the BJP dreams of ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’, which will never come true. Time will tell. The Congress party has a history of 131 years and it has seen ups and downs, defeats and victories. The party is committed to its ideology so that the political balance is maintained in the country,” Sharma said.

“They are showing as if the development of India has started just two years ago,” he said.

Sharma also said the situation in the country was bad and exports have come down drastically.

The NDA government promised to create two crore jobs every year, but in reality no new jobs have been created and people have lost their jobs due to the policies of the Modi government, Sharma said.

He said the economy of the country was going down, there are no investments, employment is not being generated, people are losing jobs in the manufacturing industry, but the BJP-led NDA government claims that the country has scaled new heights in the two years of Modi’s rule.

“This is ridiculous. The Prime Minister has visited 36 countries in two years. What benefits has India drawn internationally from his visits is not yet clear,” Sharma added.

–IANS

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