Cancel missile system contract to Israeli firm: Left | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Cancel missile system contract to Israeli firm: Left

delhi Updated: Feb 11, 2009 04:46 IST

Opposing the grant of a contract to an Israeli defence firm for supply of missile defence systems, the Left parties have asked the government to cancel the Rs 10,000 crore deal and not "subvert" India's own missile programme which was superior.

It was surprising that "such a contract has been given when the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) is already under investigation of the CBI on charges of bribery and corruption for the anti-ship, ship-mounted Barak missile system," top Left leaders, Prakash Karat and AB Bardhan, said in a signed letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Maintaining that the alleged "violation of Indian laws" by IAI had been brought to the Prime Minister's notice earlier, the General Secretaries of the CPI(M) and CPI said India had in the past blacklisted Swedish firm Bofors and South African company Denel for similar cases of kickbacks and middlemen.

They alleged that the deal "brings out the unfortunate influence the Israeli arms manufacturers including government-owned entities assert on India's arms purchases."

"Nothing else can explain why IAI, which is seriously implicated in corruption in India, should be favoured in this way," Karat and Bardhan said in the letter.

The top Left leaders said the deal was also surprising on the count that it involves systems which were "yet to be even developed by IAI, let alone manufactured and test proven".

Secondly, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has "already developed and repeatedly field proven" its Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missiles capacity, which is capable of destroying incoming enemy missiles and aircraft. It was also capable of intercepting ballistic missiles at altitudes as high as 18 kms.

"This, the proposed missiles sought to be developed by IAI appears to be inferior to the DRDO developed missiles AAD on the counts of technical, cost and operational readiness," they claimed.

Thirdly, in a bid to give a "cover" of indigenous involvement and content, the DRDO was "forced to enter into a so-called joint development of the IAI Air Defence Missile even when it already has its own superior AAD missile," Karat and Bardhan said.

"We urge you to get the contract stopped and see that the DRDO's indigenous missile programme is not subverted in this way," the leaders told the prime minister.