[F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

Earliest MessagesPrevious MessagesRecent MessagesOutline (1004 previous messages)

lunarchick - 05:02am Mar 15, 2001 EST (#1005 of 1007)

Delhi suspends top defence men

By Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI, March 14: The defence ministry on Wednesday placed under suspension four top defence ministry and army officials after they were implicated by a news website in an alleged arms bribery scandal.

The officers included Maj-Gen P S K Chaudhary, additional director general (weapons and equipment), who was shown in the video as accepting Rs100,000 and a gold chain as bribe, and three senior ministry officials H C Pant, Narendra Singh and P Sasi.

Army headquarters sources said three other army officers shown in the video had been asked to return to Delhi where they are to be handed over their suspension orders. One of them is a major general, other a brigadier and the third a colonel - additional director general (ordnance), Maj-Gen M S Ahluwalia, prospective procurement officer, Brigadier Iqbal Singh, and director in the ordnance services, Colonel Anil Sehgal.

A defence ministry spokesman said strict action would be taken against other defence officials if "delinquency of conduct" was established.

The tapes have recorded comments by a host of key players that have thrown major arms deals, including a $30 billion agreement with Russia signed last year in a quandary. Of considerable significance is the establishment of the Commission on Military Technical Cooperation led by Fernandes and Russia's deputy Prime Minister Klebanov. The tapes show Russians as used to taking kickbacks.

Defence analysts said last year's deal included a contract for purchase and assembly of 310 T-90 tanks. The three other inter-governmental agreements relate to acquisition of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, transfer of technology and licensed production of 140 Sukhoi-30 MKI multi-role fighters, and establishment of a bilateral Inter-Governmental Commission on military technical cooperation.

The acquisition of 310 T-90s, which add up to five armoured regiments, has been necessitated due to delays in the indigenously-developed Arjun main battle tank and will seek to partially replace the aging Vijayanta and T-55 tanks, the analysts said.

The editor of the website, Tarun Tejpal, said he was shocked that the seven-month long Operation West End was not uncovered by any one of the interlocutors.

"It was a saga of pure greed," Tejpal said in a discussion on an Indian TV channel. "It's amazing, I mean, that it's a miracle that the investigation lasted for seven months and their cover didn't get blown. It didn't get blown because there was so much greed. These guys were blinded with greed at every step. I mean, these two guys were largely amateurs. They didn't understand weapons; they didn't understand equipment. They knew nothing about financial transactions. But nobody caught them because the people were only focussed on money."

Opposition parties stalled parliament throughout the day asking Vajpayee to eithe

lunarchick - 05:03am Mar 15, 2001 EST (#1006 of 1007)

Vajpayee to either quit or explain the involvement of ministers and senior members of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). BJP President Bangaru Laxman, who resigned on Tuesday, said he had accepted the money but it was for the party funds and had nothing to do with any defence deal. The BJP on Wednesday named senior leader Jana Krishnamurthy as acting president.

Tejpal said a close scrutiny of the tapes would show that there were many examples of bad equipment being bought, at least one of them by over-ruling the advice of Professor Abdul Kalam, former head of India's missile and nuclear development units.

"There is a case of Mr Abdul Kalam. That is a very serious allegation there, which somebody should be looking at," Tejpal said. "Where something that Abdul Kalam had said no to, was purchased because there was a middleman hard at work in getting an equipment and Abdul Kalam wanted an indigenous missile to be deployed, but because the middleman was offering very large sums of money, they actually went and bought it. This is the Barak missile, the sea-to-air missile."

Congress party spokesman and lawyer Kapil Sibal said Abdul Kalam had wanted the indigenously-built Trishool missiles for the INS VIRAT warship.

"Then Mr Jain (a middleman named in the tape) mentions on the tape that he would have the minister overrule that and give it to Barak. This was done and then Jain says that the minister or some people told him that the other files for the other seven ships should also be seen, so that we can get the other seven systems also," Sibal said in a TV discussion.

Agencies add: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said on Wednesday that his government was ready to face an inquiry into an arms bribery scandal, but only after a debate in parliament, United News of India said.

"There is something fishy," UNI quoted Mr Vajpayee. "Let there be a discussion in the House," the news agency quoted the prime minister as saying after a meeting with some of his senior cabinet colleagues.

PARLIAMENT: Indian parliament was adjourned on Wednesday amid uproar over the bribery scandal.

The members of parliament, shouting "resign, resign," paid no heed to appeals by the speakers of the upper house and lower house for calm, and both houses were promptly adjourned just minutes into the scheduled session.

DEFENCE MINISTER: Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes had no plans to resign, his party said on Wednesday.

"George Fernandes has not resigned and has no plans to resign," Samata Party Secretary-General and spokesman Shambhu Shrivastwa told reporters.

Samata Party President Jaya Jaitly was also implicated in the documentary. But Mr Shrivastwa said his party was ready for an inquiry into the "conspiracy".

More Messages Unread Messages Recent Messages (1 following message)

 Read Subscriptions  Subscribe  Post Message
 E-mail to Sysop  Your Preferences

 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  / Missile Defense

Home | Site Index | Site Search | Forums | Archives | Shopping

News | Business | International | National | New York Region | NYT Front Page | Obituaries | Politics | Quick News | Sports | Science | Technology/Internet | Weather
Editorial | Op-Ed

Features | Arts | Automobiles | Books | Cartoons | Crossword | Games | Job Market | Living | Magazine | Real Estate | Travel | Week in Review

Help/Feedback | Classifieds | Services | New York Today

Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company