CPM's statement on the INS Jalashwa purchase

Not that I usually post what the CPI(M) thinks about defence deals, I'm unequivocally with them on this one. Here's their statement from yesterday about the CAG's condemnation of the INS Jalashwa warship purchase:

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

On Purchase of USS Trenton

The Comptroller and Auditor General's report on the purchase of the US naval ship the USS Trenton, (now named as INS Jalashwa) is a damning indictment which puts into question why the ship was bought at all. The CAG report has raised various disturbing issues:

(a) Why was the ship of 1971 vintage bought when the US Navy itself had concluded in 2003 that the ship was not suitable for modernisation and should be decommissioned in 2006. (b) Why was the $50 million deal finalised after only a visual inspection. (c) Why were "restrictions on offensive deployment" accepted and permission given to the US to "conduct an inspection and inventory of all articles transferred under the end-use monitoring clause". (d) In the light of six Indian sailors dying abroad this ship due to a gas leak, were the authorities not aware that ships of this class had suffered similar problems in the past and three US sailors had lost their lives?

The country would like to know why the government is going in for such defence deals with the United States? Is it due to the pressure of the Bush administration to buy US arms and defence equipment?

The government should order an enquiry and come out with a statement in parliament. It should assure the country that such dubious defence purchases will not be resorted to in the future.

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