JERUSALEM — Israel’s defense ministry said March 6 it was surprised by India’s decision to blacklist six weapons firms, including a top Israeli manufacturer, in connection with a 2009 bribery scandal.
“We are surprised by the Indian defence ministry’s decision [against Israeli Military Industries] because the process of hearings over the intended sanctions against the company has not been completed,” spokesman Josh Hantman said.
India announced March 5 it was blacklisting six armament firms for 10 years for allegedly bribing an Indian bureaucrat.
The sanctions targeted four foreign companies, namely Israel Military Industries (IMI), Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd., Switzerland’s Rheinmetall Air Defence and Russia’s Corporation Defence (CDR).
The other two companies targeted, RK Machine Tools Ltd. and TS Kisan and Co. Private Ltd., are Indian.
“The firms were recommended for blacklisting by the Central Bureau of Investigation on the basis of evidence collected against them,” the Indian defence ministry said March 5.
“The decision to debar [the companies] was taken today after taking into consideration their replies,” the statement said.
But Hantman said the decision was premature and unexpected, “especially in light of the fact that IMI had good reasons to oppose this measure.”
“The Israeli defense ministry will consult with Israel Military Industries about how to respond to the Indian defence ministry decision,” he added.
In 2009, India froze deals worth $1.5 billion with seven companies after police arrested a top bureaucrat on charges he allegedly accepted bribes from the firms.
The companies were asked to show why action should not be taken against them.
Those affected by the blacklist will be prevented from doing business with India’s defence ministry for 10 years.