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Kalam opposed buying Barak missiles

Sources say Kalam had on June 23, 1999 written against the procurement of Barak Anti-Missile Defence (AMD) System.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2006 22:28 IST

In a letter that contradicts former Defence Minister George Fernandes' claim, APJ Abdul Kalam had opposed import of Barak missiles in 1999, months before the NDA government placed an order for its acquisition from Israel.

A day after Fernandes claimed that the deal was okayed by the Government in 2000 after receiving clearance from Kalam, who was the then Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, sources said Kalam had on June 23, 1999 written against the procurement of Barak Anti-Missile Defence (AMD) System.

The letter by Kalam had come in response to the then Naval Chief Admiral Sushil Kumar, who had on June 15 sought acquisition of two Barak AMDs.

Kalam, in his letter, had said the development of indigenous Trishul missile was in final stages and various systems were working properly. He had argued in favour of Trishul saying it was cost effective and would be free from problems that could arise out of foreign policy changes, they said.

On June 25, 1999, Kumar had put up a note to Fernandes favouring acquisition of Barak AMDs despite stiff opposition from Kalam, with whom he had a meeting on the same day.

In 1996 when Pakistan was in the process of acquisition of the missile system from abroad, Kalam, who was also Chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), had favoured Barak Missile on condition that the Navy would induct Trishul, which was expected to be ready by 2002.