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India promises to clean up military corruption
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) June 01, 2013


Former CIA chief joins KKR investment fund
New York, Usa (AFP) May 30, 2013 - Former CIA director David Petraeus, who resigned in November after revealing he had an extramarital affair, is joining Wall Street buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the company announced Thursday.

The retired four-star general known for masterminding the US military "surge" in Iraq was named as chairman of the newly created KKR Global Institute, which aims to research the investment implications of non-financial global trends.

"I have long known and respected General Petraeus and, on behalf of everyone at KKR, I welcome him to the firm," said KKR co-founder and co-chief executive Henry Kravis in a statement.

"As the world changes and we expand how and where we invest, we are always looking to sharpen the 'KKR edge'."

"KKR is one of the best investment firms in the world," Petraeus said.

"I look forward to supporting the investment teams in their pursuit of the best opportunities for clients and also being a part of a new initiative to provide additional insights to KKR's clients and companies."

The KKR Global Institute was created to study the investment implications of public policy, geo-political, macro-economic, regulatory and technology trends around the world, KKR said.

As head of the institute Petraeus will work with senior KKR officials and support its investment teams in diligence research in new investments around the world, KKR said.

Petraeus, 60, is a hero of the Iraq war and former commander of the allied force in Afghanistan, and one of the best known soldiers of his generation.

He took over the CIA in 2011, but resigned in November 2012 after admitting an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, 20 years his junior.

Aside from his KKR role, he has teaching positions at the University of Southern California and City University of New York.

India's military, one of the world's largest weapons buyers, unveiled a new arms acquisition policy Saturday aimed at weeding out corruption in the defence sector.

The policy announcement comes just over a week after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged to crack down on defence corruption following a string of graft scandals that has put his government on the back foot.

The defence ministry said the new policy would seek the "highest standard of transparency" in arms purchases for the country's million-plus military, the world's fourth largest.

"(It) aims to balance the competing requirements of expediting capital procurement... and conforming to the highest standards of transparency, probity and public accountability," the defence ministry said in a statement.

In a bid to boost India's domestic defence industry, the policy gives first right of refusal to Indian vendors, according a "higher preference explicitly to the Buy Indian, Buy and Make Indian" approach.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony in a foreward to the policy paper said he hoped the procedure will be a "progressive step aimed at giving impetus to indigenisation, creating (a) level playing field... and expediting the procurement process as a whole".

India is negotiating a series of huge procurement contracts, including for fighter jets, combat helicopters, as well as artillery, drones and electronic warfare systems, as it seeks to update its ageing military hardware.

Premier Singh a week ago warned he was committed to make purchases of military hardware more "transparent, smooth, efficient and less vulnerable to unethical practices".

In February, public anger over alleged bribes paid by Italian company Finmeccanica to secure a $748 million contract for 12 helicopters forced New Delhi to order an investigation and suspend the deal.

Italian prosecutors suspect kickbacks worth around 50 million euros ($64 million) were paid to Indian officials to ensure Finmeccanica's British unit AgustaWestland won the contract, according to Italian media reports.

An Indian preliminary inquiry report has linked four firms, four Westerners and seven Indians to the bribery allegations.

The governing Congress party, up for re-election in May next year, has been hit by a string of scandals. Two ministers resigned last month after one was accused of interfering in a graft probe and another was linked to a bribery allegation.

The defence scandal erupted at a time when the government was already fighting charges by the national auditor that under-pricing of the sale of telecom spectrum and cut-rate allocation of coalfields cost the exchequer billions of dollars.

The controversy paralysed parliament and derailed measures to further open up the state-controlled economy as growth plunged to a decade-low of five percent in the last financial year.

pc/pmc/jms

Finmeccanica

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