The Defence Ministry has asked the Intelligence Bureau to keep an eye on the private sector defence companies to prevent leakage of classified information about Indian military projects to foreign nationals.
The move has come at a time when the Narendra Modi government is taking several steps to promote private sector in the military industrial sector and a number of new such firms are expected to come up in the near future. "The CEOs of private sector firms will have to report to the Intelligence Bureau about the visit of foreign nationals within 15 days of any such visit to their production facility," says a Defence Ministry circular issued recently.
These firms will have to compulsorily provide details of the purpose and the details of the visits by these foreign nationals to the Intelligence Bureau, it said. The Defence Ministry has also made it mandatory for the private defence firms to deploy a security guard with the foreign nationals while they are visiting their facilities, it said.
Defence Ministry officials said foreigners would not be allowed to visit the areas in the facility where work on Ministry of Defence projects is going on. The Ministry of Defence has also put these companies under the purview of the Official Secrets Act and any violation or non-compliance of the directions would be strictly penalised by the authorities concerned, the circular said.
Steps such as delicensing a large number of defence-related equipment and increase in the FDI limit by the NDA government are expected to draw a large number of firms in the military manufacturing sector in the near future.