Israel deal may be scrapped if graft found: India


Founding Member
Regular Member
Feb 19, 2009
India warned Friday it would scrap a missile deal with Israel if there was "credible evidence of malpractice" in the two-billion-dollar contract.

Leftist parties have demanded a probe, alleging that state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries bribed middlemen to secure the contract for the sale of medium-range surface-to-air missiles to India.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony said so far no irregularities had surfaced but added he would not hesitate to take action if the charges proved true.

"The government will not hesitate to take stern action if there is credible evidence of malpractice," the United News of India quoted Antony as saying in the southern Indian town of Thiruvananthapuram.

The communists, who were part of the government until late last year, claim the Israeli firm paid out six billion rupees (120 million dollars) to win the deal.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported late last month that Israel Aerospace Industries had refused to comment on the allegations but quoted sources who it said were familiar with the deal as saying the process followed regulations.

A section of the Indian military is also opposed to the contract, arguing it could ring the death knell to Indian efforts to build its own surface-to-air missile for which hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent.

Antony said the contract was cleared in a "transparent manner" by the Indian cabinet but said he could take a series of steps to weed out corruption.

"The government can cancel the contract, initiate criminal proceedings and debar the company for five years... if any irregularities are found," he told a news conference.

India banned middlemen in military deals following allegations of bribery in a multi-billion-dollar artillery deal in the 1980s with Swedish firm Bofors.

That scandal led to the downfall of the government of Congress prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989.

Israel replaced France in 2007 as India's second-largest arms supplier after Russia but Antony said New Delhi was not seeking closer military ties with the Jewish state.

"Israel is just one of the 45 countries from where India is purchasing arms with Russia topping the list," Antony added.

India, the biggest weapons buyer among emerging countries, has imported military hardware worth 28 billion dollars since 2000.

It has earmarked another 30 billion dollars to be spent by 2010 that includes 12 billion dollars on 126 fighter jets for which six global aeronautical giants are in the running.


New Member
Feb 16, 2009
Missile range was scaled down to benefit Israel firm

New Delhi: On July 31, 2005, DNA had exposed the leak of national secrets from the naval war room in South Block. Statements by officers allegedly involved in leaking the secrets had revealed that efforts to award the medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) contract to the Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) were already on. An officer revealed that the missile's required range was scaled down to benefit the Israelis.

DNA's investigation raised questions regarding the conduct of the UPA government in concluding the Rs10,000 crore deal with IAI on the eve of general elections. Though legal opinion didn't conclusively favour the contract, the government went ahead, and agreed to pay "6% business charges" (about Rs600 crore). In the war room leak case, four officers were booked and dismissed. Among revelations by these officers, most startling are statements by former wing commander SL Surve, who was arrested and dismissed from the Indian Air Force.

Surve was joint director (air defence) in the operations branch at IAF headquarters. In statements to the media on his behalf by an NGO, Nausainik Jan Chetan Samiti, he detailed how efforts to award the MRSAM contract to IAI were on since 2005.

"The IAF had felt the requirement of latest MR [medium range] surface [-to-air] missiles to be in position before the end of this decade. In financial projections, the IAF asked for about Rs14,500 crore," said the document released in the latter half of 2005. The field units had "recommended the requirement" for the MRSAM "to be able to hit a target at a distance of 150km", the statement said.

"There were missile systems available in [the] world market with ranges from 120-150km. However, to help a vendor, [then] vice-chief of air staff (VCAS) was keen to procure off-the-shelf missile which has a range of 60-70km," the statement said. Surve claimed to have resisted the move. The MRSAM deal is for a missile with a range of 70km.

Surve alleged that the then VCAS and other officers were not interested in inducting the indigenously developed Akash missile system, rendered almost defunct by IAF ordering two squadrons.

Sources in the Defence Research and Development Organisation, IAF and defence ministry agree with Surve's statement and blame the group of officers for scuttling Akash's induction in big numbers.

The statement said the then deputy chief of air staff favoured "procuring items related to air defence from some foreign vendors".

Surve said there was a plan to delay procurements until an officer joined a critical office in the IAF headquarters. The officer named in Surve's complaint had come into focus during DNA's investigation.

A defence ministry source admitted that senior officials were aware that the officer, who retired about two years ago, was working for the Israelis.

courtesy :- BR

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