In the 20th instalment of the series, 'Hum Adani Ke Hai Kaun' (HAHK), the Congress party asked three questions to prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi related to Adani Defence and its activities in the arms manufacturing sector.
In a release, Jairam Ramesh, member of Parliament (MP) and general secretary for communications of Congress, says "We had asked you (the PM) a series of questions on 15 February 2023 regarding the handing over of large chunks of the India-Israel defence relationship to your close friend Gautam Adani, be it drones, small arms, defence electronics or maintenance & repair. Today, we ask some more questions about your role in giving the Adani Group undue advantage in major small arms contracts for the armed forces."
Here are the three questions asked by Congress to PM…
1. In 2018, the Indian Army selected the CAR 816 close-quarter battle (CQB) carbine manufactured by the UAE-based Caracal International to replace its ageing submachine guns. Albeit done under the same "fast track procedure" that led to the procurement of 72,400 SIG SAUER 716 assault rifles, the order for 93,895 carbines was abruptly cancelled in September 2020.
On 10 February 2021, the army issued yet another Request for Information for an identical quantity of carbines to vendors, including Adani Defence. Given that our soldiers face an urgent requirement in eastern Ladakh following the Chinese incursions, are you prioritising your cronies over our soldiers in cancelling this contract and opening it to fresh bids? Are you not simply opening a path for another Adani monopoly, this time on the supply of carbines whose total requirement is projected at up to four lakh guns?
2. On 3 March 2019, you inaugurated an Indo-Russian joint venture to manufacture AK203 assault rifles at the OFB Korwa factory in Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) and announced: "Now "Make in Amethi'' is a reality." It is another matter that it took three more years to start production of AK-203s. Curiously, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), which is manufacturing 700K (thousand) AK-203 rifles, was excluded from a 10 January 2023 ministry of defence briefing on the CQB contract. You keep harping on the importance of Atmanirbhartain (self-reliance) in defence, yet your government has excluded India's largest indigenous small arms factory from bidding. Is it because you are once again helping your private sector friends displace public-sector ventures that are currently supplying weapons to the armed forces? Are you concerned that an existing factory producing small arms at scale will outbid your close friends and deny them yet another opportunity to profit from Indian taxpayers?
3. Indian armed forces have long been equipped with Israeli small arms such as Tavor assault rifles and Galil sniper rifles. In March 2020, Israel Weapons Industries (IWI) secured an Indian Army contract to supply 16,479 Negev NG-7 light machine guns. In September 2020, Adani bought a majority stake in the Gwalior-based PLR systems that had a joint venture with IWI, which put Adani in a position to monopolise any followon orders for Negev machine guns. If for argument's sake IRRPL is being excluded to help newer players, why is your close friend Adani being allowed to bid for the CQB contract? Is this not a blatant case of favouritism?
Read about previous questions here…