MPs are demanding an explanation after Israel upgraded British Jaguar bombers made by India under licence and potentially capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Tony Baldry, chairman of the Commons cross-party international development committee, has asked Patricia Hewitt, the trade and industry secretary, whether the government approved of the deal or had no control over it.
Mr Baldry refers in a letter to Ms Hewitt to an article in Jane's Defence Weekly reporting growing military cooperation between India and Israel and says he understands Israel was upgrading the aircraft to allow them to carry nuclear weapons. He adds: "I find this deeply disconcerting."
The Jane's article said defence analysts were speculating that Israel may have violated US embargoes by exporting to India sensitive and dual-use nuclear technologies.
Mr Baldry asks why the government is not introducing measures in the export control bill to tightly control arms built under licence – and why the MoD is encouraging arms exports to India while maintaining an embargo on Pakistan.
The issue demonstrates, he says, the need to strengthen the bill to cover licensing deals to prevent companies having a "free rein to do unethical deals so long as the smoke-filled room is not on British soil".www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4400259,00.htmlE-mail this article