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VVIP chopper scam: UK promises help with investigation

UK Prime Minister David Cameron promised that his country would fully cooperate with an Indian investigation into allegations that AgustaWestland offered massive kickbacks to a number of people including Indian defence officials, to ensure that it received a deal for 12 VVIP choppers.

Image from CNN-IBN

Image from CNN-IBN

Addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Cameron said, "We will respond to any request for any information in the AgustaWestland deal. However I would like to reiterate that the problem seems to be with the Italian arm, and that Britain has one of the strongest anti-bribery legislations in the world"

Addressing the media before Cameron, Singh said, "I conveyed our concerns about allegations of unethical means used in AgustaWestland contract for purchase of helicopters. Prime Minister Cameron has assured me of the cooperation of his Government in the investigation".

It is unlikely that Cameron's promise of cooperation will pacify the opposition however, with the BJP in particular reiterating that they would bring up the scam in Parliament.

Apart from the chopper scam, the two Prime Ministers discussed the strengthening of bilateral relations, in the fields of trade, investment, defence and security. The Indian Prime Minister said that he welcomed more British investment in the country, while Cameron reiterated plans such as the Mumbai-Bangalore business corridor and the granting of business and student visas to Indian citizens.

Cameron also said that the UK was not abandoning Afghanistan and vowed to work towards fighting terrorism and bringing the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to justice.