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I have asked PM Modi to lift the ban of Tatra from the list of defence ministry: Czech PM Andrej Babiš on the defence cooperation with India

In an exclusive chat with BW Businessworld, PM Babiš said that he has asked PM Modi to remove the name of Tatra- a Czech defence entity from the list of banned firms under the ministry of defence (MoD).

Photo Credit : BW Businessworld

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Andrej Babiš, the Prime Minister of Czech Republic, who is in India on a two- days visit, has asked India to remove the ban on Tarta-a Czech truck manufacturer from the list of the Ministry of Defence's banned defence companies.

In an exclusive chat with BW Businessworld, PM Babiš said that he has discussed with PM Modi about the removal of Tatra from the list. Highlighting the defence cooperation with India, PM Babiš categorically said:  “we are ready for the defence cooperation but Tatra trucks need to be cancelled from the banned list of MoD.” He also said: There is a long story and that does not concern the active shareholders and I have asked Prime Minister (Modi) must help us so that we will have more customers than today.”

Back in 2012, Tatra was at the center of controversy-as common thread in most of the defence deals and procurement in India- that there were middlemen based in London who brokered the deal with MoD’s officials. That led to the inflated price to the tune of more than 100 percent of the actual cost of the factory-assembled Tratra trucks.

The scam created flurry in the corridors of ministry of defence as it was alleged that a sum of Rs 750 crores were siphoned off in collusion with the officials of ministry of defence and officials from India’s defence public sector unit-Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML).

Later the then Army chief Gen V K Singh sent ripples across, naming a senior army officer Lt. Gen (Rtd) Tejinder Singh that he had tried to bribe him Rs 14 crore to clear the ‘substandard’ Tatra trucks.
 
 And so as usual in such a case, after ‘further investigation’ a dying declaration of ‘closure report’ was filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2014 sighting the lack of evidence.
 
 PM Andrej Babiš also led the Czech delegation at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019, with Czech Republic as a partner country. PM Modi and PM Babis held a bilateral meeting on 18 January on the sidelines of the Summit. They discussed the bilateral relations including important global and regional issues of mutual interest.

 The bilateral trade is limited to USD 1.5 billion. “But there is big potential especially in the defence industry,” PM said, adding “India wants more investment from Czech. Today, Skoda (Czech car maker) has launched new technology centre.” 

Czech Republic has cutting edge manufacturing technologies in heavy machinery and precision engineering. PM Modi invited Czech companies to take advantage of huge opportunities that the Indian market offered for manufacturing in India especially in defense, automotive and railway sectors. 


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