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Cancel missile system contract to Israeli firm: Left

February 10, 2009 15:47 IST

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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 Aerospace Industries is already under the investigation of the Central Bureau of Investigation on charges of bribery and corruption for the anti-ship, ship-mounted Barak missile system," top Left leaders, Prakash Karat [Images] and A B Bardhan, said in a signed letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images].

Maintaining that the alleged violation of the Indian laws by the IAI had been brought to the prime minister's notice earlier, the general secretaries of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Communist Party of India said India had in the past blacklisted Swedish firm Bofors and the South African company Denel for similar cases of kickbacks and middlemen.

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

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

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

"Secondly, the Defence Research and Development Organisation has already developed and repeatedly field proven its Advanced Air Defence 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," the Left leaders said in the letter.

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

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