Agusta Initiates Arbitration Against India Over VVIP Chopper Suspension
Following this letter from AgustaWestland in April this year to the Indian MoD (mentioning the possibility of legal recourse) after the AW101 VVIP helicopter deal was suspended in the aftermath of the ‘chopper-scam’ revelations in Italy, here’s an expected statement from AgustaWestland today announcing arbitration proceedings against the Indian government:
[Following] the suspension of the contract to supply AW101 VVIP helicopters to India – a sanction not provided for the under contract – a request was made to India’s Ministry of Defence by AgustaWestland in April 2013 invoking the contractual provision for bilateral discussions. Since then there have been a series of further requests for discussions. Regrettably, to date, there has been no response from India’s MoD.
The company’s earnest desire is to have a dialogue with the Indian authorities. AgustaWestland remains totally committed to working with the Government of India to resolve the issues confronting us and to allow the Indian armed forces to receive the equipment they need. However, we do not see how we can achieve this if a dialogue is not established. The ongoing need to resolve this issue has left AgustaWestland with no other option but to invoke arbitration through Counsel; the next step prescribed by the contract. This is not a step we take lightly.
While the arbitration proceedings themselves are confidential, the issues in question relate to the unilateral suspension of the contract. Neither the contract nor the associated Integrity Pact confers such rights on the Indian MoD.
AgustaWestland is justly proud to have served the Government of India for more than 40 years. We want our relationship with India to continue and flourish and consequently we remain deeply concerned at the current [situation].