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‘Defence safe from global recession’


Chandigarh : In a time of financial meltdown, when all economies are feeling the heat of recession, the Indian defence sector is well guarded and safe from the repercussions of the global slump, a top military officer said Friday.

“Defence is one sector that is completely safe from the global recession. Every other field is adopting cost-cutting measures but defence sector’s budgets are well in place,” said Air Marshal Gautam Nayyar, who heads the Indian Air Force (IAF) Maintenance Command, while interacting with media persons at the Base Repair Depot-3 here.

“Defence is still the priority of the country. Earlier, there were individuals who wanted to go into other professions but now their mindset has changed and we have managed to retain the best talent,” he added.

Responding to a question about the purchase of 80 medium-lift helicopters from Russia, Nayyar said: “India would start receiving the Mi-17V-5s from June 2010,” adding the IAF had already started to improve its infrastructure to adapt to the new technology choppers.

“We are spending nearly Rs.70 crore (Rs.700 million) on the upgradation of the infrastructure to accommodate the Mi-17V-5s. Russian instructors will also come here to brief us about the helicopters,” Nayyar pointed out.

“We will also send our AN-32s (transport aircraft) to Ukraine for their upgradation. This would increase their life span from 25 to 40 years,” Nayyar said.

Nayyar, who retires March 31, was on his farewell visit at BRD-3.

He said the IAF had allocated Rs.500 crore (Rs.5 billion) for the modernisation of BRDs and this work was on in full swing.