International Seminar on Defence Finance and Economics

An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 29 November 2006  

Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Mr V N Misra and

World Renowned Strategist Prof Edward Luttak

Defence Secretary Shaekar Dutt


In trying to get the best bang for its buck, India’s MOD had brought about changes in its procurement and R&D policies and improved the civil–military industrial complex, with just 2.56% of the GNP. In this context, the Ministry of Defence (Finance), under the guidance of Mr V N Misra, Secretary Defence (Finance), organized a unique International Seminar on Defence Finance and Economics, in New Delhi from 13 to 15 November 2006.

India’s Finance Minister and Foreign Minister spoke to the delegates, which included 64 foreign invitees (28 foreign speakers) on the first day and the valedictory address was given by newly appointed Defence Minister Mr A K Antony. The Seminar addressed contemporary issues of global concern that all in the defence and connected finance sector face, to plan defence budgets, induction of equipment, R&D and manpower. Speakers from ministries, academicians and think tanks and oversight agencies of 27 countries, like Prof. Keith Hartley, Director Centre for Defence Studies, University of York, UK, Sir Kevin Tebbit, Former Permanent Under Secretary for Defence of the UK, Ms. Elisabeth Skons, SIPRI, Katherine Schinasi, Govt. Accountability Office USA, Mr. Charles Wessner, Director Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship, USA, Vice Admiral Jeremy Blackham and Professor Marc Greenberg and Prof. Roland Kankey from Defence Acquisition University, USA.

From India eminent defence analysts like Air Cmde (Retd) Jasjit Singh, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Nambiar Director of USI, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Raghavan and Shri N.S. Sisodia Director of IDSA, took part. Contributions from the Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Secretary, Secretary (Expenditure), Defence Secretary, SA to RM, Secretary (DP), Service Chiefs, Chairman of Defence PSUs and industry associations like CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM were also present.

It came to light that most Defence bosses worldwide had common problems to see that there were no pressures or corruption in procurement, cost and time overruns in R and D projects were avoided and that units did not avoid audits or treat them casually. It was also brought out that inter-service rivalries had to be met with strong political direction. In that regard India was no different but more management practices in MOD were required.

In the end the Conference and the excellent cultural shows were very well conducted and Mr V N Misra and his team of Auditors and Finance Officials were outstanding in their efforts to make foreign and Indian delegates feel welcome and at home. Many of the staff were ladies and as we attended the run up to the Conference and presented a paper on Life Cycle Costing and QRs as learnt from the UK and Armscor model, we may say the foreign and Indian delegates could not believe it was so well organised by civilian staff. Admiral Jeremy Blackham ex VCDS UK in his final remarks said it was one of the best planned and executed conferences he had attended. Incredible India! As we say in the Navy ‘Bravo Zulu’

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