logo

India in blacklist dilemma over AgustaWestland deal

India in blacklist dilemma over AgustaWestland deal
Defence minister AK Antony is leaning toward barring Anglo-Italian helicopter firm AgustaWestland from doing business in the country because of a corruption scandal, but he could be outvoted by cabinet colleagues, several government sources said.

Some cabinet ministers and even officials within the defence ministry fear such a move could set back India's efforts to modernise its military, the sources told Reuters. India plans to spend $100 billion in the next decade on military hardware.

Publicly, Antony has said he is awaiting the results of the CBI investigation into the allegations of corruption, which AgustaWestland denies. But several defence officials said that based on evidence uncovered so far, the minister favoured barring the firm from bidding for Indian defence contracts. AgustaWestland, a division of Italian defence group Finmeccanica, faces allegations in Italy and India that it paid bribes to win a $750 million deal to supply 12 VIP AW101 helicopters to transport Indian political leaders.

Any decision on barring AgustaWestland will initially be taken by Antony, but it will need approval of a cabinet committee that includes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid.

Behind the scenes, some cabinet ministers and defence officials have expressed concern that any move to ban yet another major defence firm could deal a blow to India's stuttering efforts to modernise its military.


WALKING ON ICE
  • Some cabinet ministers and even officials within the defence ministry fear such a move could set back India’s efforts to modernise its military

  • India plans to spend $100 billion in the next decade on military hardware
Agencies

Agencies

Our Contributor help bring you the latest article around you


Exclusive

View All

Latest News

View All
Share it
Top