Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday stressed that Swedish Bofors guns were of good quality but declined to comment on President Pranab Mukherjee’s remarks that no scandal had been established in their acquisition.
“I can only certify that Bofors guns are good. I do not make any statement on President's statement. If you ask me about quality of Bofors guns, then they are good,” Parrikar told reporters on the sidelines of a navy conference.
The guns, bought in the late 1980s, were used effectively against Pakistan during the 1999 Kargil conflict.
In an interview to Swedish national daily Dagens Nyheter ahead of his visit to Sweden, Mukherjee said no Indian court had established there was a scandal in the purchase of the guns and there was a media trial.
“It is yet to be to be established that there was a scandal. No Indian court has established it,” the newspaper quoted the President as saying.
He added, “I was the defence minister of the country long after Bofors, and all my generals certified that this is one of the best guns we are having. Till today, Indian army is using it.”
“The so-called scandal which you talk of, yes, in the media, it was there. There was a media trial. But I’m afraid, let us not be too much carried by publicity.”
There were allegations that the Swedish firm paid Rs 64 crore as commission to bag the Rs 1,500-crore deal.