Thursday, March 22, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

George didn’t push Barak deal: Navy chief

New Delhi, March 21
Former Defence Minister George Fernandes had not pushed through the deal for Barak missiles to be deployed in warships as the Navy had made up its mind to induct the anti sea-skimming missiles after extensive trials, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sushil Kumar said today.

“It is wrong to say that Mr Fernandes had tried to push through the Barak deal,” Admiral Sushil Kumar said adding the “Navy was convinced of the efficiency, cost-effectiveness of the Isreali missiles which had undergone tests since 1992.”

He told reporters after the naval investiture ceremony here, “Mr Fernandes came into the scene only in 1998. So it is wrong to drag him into any controversy regarding the missiles.”

The naval chief said the on-going political turmoil, created after the Tehelka expose on corruption in defence deals, had cast a shadow on the country’s defence system but felt it was a temporary phenomenon and armed forces would come through it with more resilience.

Mr Fernandes, in his resignation statement, had rejected the charges by the news portal and asserted that the Rs 700 crore deal had been approved by the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Ministry A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. PTI

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