Opposition Attacks Indian Government Over Rafale Fighter Jet Deal with France

The MoD also reminded the Opposition that it was under the rule of the Congress government that there an alarming decline in IAF’s fighter strength

The MoD also reminded the Opposition that it was under the rule of the Congress government that there an alarming decline in IAF’s fighter strength

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, he said, had first announced that she would inform the nation about the cost of purchasing Rafale aircraft but was now saying she could not do so as it was a state secret.

FORMER UNION minister and senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily on Wednesday demanded that the government issue a white paper on the Rafale deal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise for casting "aspersions on the behaviour of Mahatma Gandhi".

"Provision of exact item-wise cost and other info will reveal, inter alia, details regarding various customisations and weapons systems specially created to augment effectiveness and lethality of assets, impact our military preparedness and compromise our national security", said the statement.

It said that in 2012, the then Defence Minister AK Antony exercised unprecedented personal veto on laid down institutional process then underway for procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft.

The Congress has alleged that the price of the fighter jets being paid by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is higher than what was finalised by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in a previous deal. "Thus, in not revealing the item-wise details of the contract, the government is merely following in letter and spirit the confidentiality provisions of a bilateral India-France Agreement of 2008 signed by the previous government", it further said, adding that UPA government had refused to disclose the price of defence procurements, including in response to Parliament questions.

The statement also maintained that there was no provision for transfer of technology but only to manufacture under licence.

The opposition challenged the centre to reveal the details regarding the Rafale deal to no avail.

Rahul's statement came after Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman denied disclosing the details in the regard. This only means there is a scam. Demand that the government disclose details and value of the contract for the Rafale aircraft contracted in 2016 is unrealistic.

Reacting to the Congress allegation of the Rafale deal favouring big industrial houses close to the prime minister, the defence ministry clarified that the vendor Dassault Aviation is yet to select an Indian offset partner to execute the project. "The whole country knows it".

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