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Rediff.com  » News » Conveyed our concerns on chopper deal to Cameron, says PM

Conveyed our concerns on chopper deal to Cameron, says PM

Last updated on: February 19, 2013 16:41 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that he has conveyed India's concerns about the alleged unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for AgustaWestland helicopters to British Prime David Cameron, and added that the latter has assured him of his government's cooperation in the investigations.

"I also conveyed to Prime Minister Cameron our very serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for Agusta Westland helicopters. I told him that we have sought an explanation from the company by February 22 to examine if the contractual provisions on unethical practices and the Integrity Pact have been violated," said Dr Singh in his statement to the media.

"I have sought full assistance from the UK in this case. Prime Minister Cameron has assured me of cooperation by his government in the investigations," he added.

 A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation has left for Italy to probe the allegations of kickbacks in the deal.

The defence ministry had directed Joint Secretary A K Bal to travel to Italy to gather as much evidence as possible related to the allegations of corruption in the acquisition of 12 AW 101 VVIP helicopters.

 The defence ministry has initiated action for the cancellation of contract for the procurement of 12 AW101 helicopters for the use of VVIPs.

AgustaWestland, the Italian firm, is presently at the centre of a controversy over allegations of paying kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.

Dr Singh also said that India and the United Kingdom have agreed to further intensify cooperation in combating terrorism.

In his statement to the media during the visit of Cameron, Dr Singh said that he had very candid and productive discussions on regional and global issues with the visiting dignitary.

"We shared our perspectives on the security and political transition in Afghanistan. I conveyed India's enduring commitment to assist Afghanistan through the transition and beyond, by supporting its economic growth and regional economic integration and helping develop its capacity for governance, development and security in accordance with our strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan. We also had productive discussions on other issues in our immediate neighbourhood, including Iran and West Asia," said Dr Singh.

"We agreed to further intensify our cooperation in combating terrorism. We have also increased our engagement on cyber security," he added.

Dr Singh said that he and Prime Minister Cameron reviewed the entire expanse of the bilateral relations between the two sides.

Dr Singh said that he thanked Cameron for the UK's support for India's full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and other multilateral export control regimes.

"We have also decided to commence negotiations on a bilateral civil nuclear agreement," he added.

Dr Singh further said that he and Cameron agreed that in keeping with our strategic relationship, it is important for our two sides to consult closely and remain sensitive to each other's interests.

"Cameron's visit is another milestone in our bilateral relations. It has been a pleasure working with him and I look forward to continuing our mutual partnership," he added.

Source: ANI