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India rules out boycott of US military equipment

Fernandes ruled out India boycotting hi-tech US military equipment in the wake of its unilateral action.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2003 21:58 IST

Defence Minister George Fernandes on Sunday ruled out India boycotting hi-tech US military equipment in the wake of its unilateral action against Iraq.

Asked whether the Vajpayee Government would boycott the equipment it has been purchasing from the United States in the wake of its attack on Iraq, he said without the use of Weapon Locating Radars, it would not be possible to protect Indian soldiers from suffering losses.

"If we boycott them it will not be in the interest of our national security. We will be asking our soldiers to fight it out in the open," he told Zee TV in an interview.

Fernandes said sometimes on a particular issue circumstances develop between two countries in such a way that one had to put principles and ideologies in the backburner.

He said the whole world had accepted that the war against Iraq was a unilateral action by the US which in a way rendered the United Nations meaningless and there was pain in everyone's heart with regard to the future of the UN.

Asked about the role of the NDA Government, the Defence Minister said India was prepared to extend cooperation to Iraq in providing relief to the war hit people, especially children. "The Government is prepared to offer its assistance the moment such a request is received," he added.

First Published: Mar 23, 2003 20:39 IST