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India, UK to discuss chopper scam probe

New Delhi, dhns, April 3, 2013

Less than two months after British Prime Minister David Cameron promised help on Indian investigation of VVIP helicopter scam involving UK-origin firm AgustaWestland, defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma would be travelling to London to discuss with his counterparts how the investigation could be taken forward.

Officially Sharma will travel to London on Saturday for a three-day tour heading a delegation to participate in the UK-India defence dialogue. But the ongoing probe into the Rs 3,600-crore copter scam will also be on the table when the officials meet.

During his last India tour in February, Cameron promised all assistance to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for information on the allegation that AgustaWestland had resorted to unethical means to secure the contract for supplying VVIP helicopters to Indian Air Force.

The assurance came after Singh conveyed to Cameron India’s “very serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for AgustaWestland helicopters” and sought “full assistance” from the British Government.


India’s earlier requests to UK for information on AgustaWestland did not yield much result, as the British government maintained that it would wait for the outcome of the investigation launched against the firm’s parent company Finmeccanica in Italy.

Air exercise

Fine-tuning the details of an air exercise between Indian Air Force and Royal Air Force may also be on the agenda. Named “Indradhanush” the wargaming is likely to take place at the RAF base in Waddington in 2014.

The last edition of Indradhanush in 2010 happened in Kalaikunda where RAF Typhoons exercised with IAF Su-30 MKI.

 

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