People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 5

February 15, 2009

 

Scrap The Contract With Israel Aircraft Industries



The general secretaries of the CPI(M) and CPI, Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan, have addressed a letter to the prime minister on February 9, 2009 regarding the contract for Air Defence Missile Systems placed with the Israel Aircraft Industries. A copy was also sent to A K Antony, minister for Defence, government of India. The following is the text of the letter.

WE are writing to you regarding the contract for Air Defence Missile Systems placed by the MoD on Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The amount involved is around Rs 10,000 crore for the supply of around 12 such systems. This is surprising considering that such a contract has been given when IAI is already under investigation of the CBI on charges of bribery and corruption for the anti-ship, ship-mounted Barak missile system. We had brought this to your notice in our earlier letter dated March 18, 2008 about the kickbacks and use of middleman in the Barak deal, which are in violation of Indian laws. In the past, India has blacklisted firms such as Bofors, Sweden and Denel, South Africa for similar cases of kickbacks and middlemen.

The deal with IAI is also surprising on other counts. First, it involves systems that have yet to be even developed by IAI, let alone manufactured and test proven. Secondly, our Defense R & D Organisation (DRDO) has already developed and repeatedly field proven DRDO’s Advanced Air Defense (AAD) missiles capacity. This missile is capable of destroying incoming enemy missiles as well as aircraft whereas aircraft the proposed IAI missile can deal only with enemy aircraft. The DRDO (AAD) missile is capable of intercepting even ballistic missiles at altitudes upto as high as 18 kilometers. Thus, the proposed missiles sought to be developed by IAI appears to be inferior to the DRDO developed missiles AAD on the counts of technical, cost and operational readiness.

Thirdly, to give a “cover” of indigenous involvement and content, DRDO has been forced to enter into a so-called “joint development” of the IAI Air Defense Missile even when it already has its own superior AAD missile!

This deal again brings out the unfortunate influence that Israeli arms manufacturers including government owned entities assert on India’s arms purchases. Nothing else can explain why IAI, which is seriously implicated in corruption in India and in Israel, should be favoured in this way.

We urge you to get the contract stopped and see that the DRDO’s indigenous missile programme is not subverted in this way.