Friday, 15 December, 2017

Allegations relating to Rafale deal shameful: Sitharaman

Rahul Gandhi Rahul Gandhi
Howard Terry | 20 November, 2017, 00:21

On Thursday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had alleged that Prime Minister Modi had "changed the entire deal to benefit one businessman".

The final agreement for 36 Rafale jets was signed in 2016 after five rounds of discussions between Indian and French sides and approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security, she said.

The Defence Minister said the central government will remove the hurdles in domestic defence manufacturing.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday again questioned the deal of procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets with France.

The Congress on Friday accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of misleading the country on the Rafale deal and violating "the sanctity of the Defence Ministry by holding a political press conference there". "The government has negotiated a very good deal", Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said. "The UPA government from 2004-2014 could not arrive on a decision to address this critical necessity of fighters for the IAF". "Twelve long years of negotiations and still (there was) no decision, although critically recognising the need for strengthening the Air Force", said Sitharaman.

"It is definitely a better deal".

Hitting at the government over the same issue, Gandhi, who was talking to reporters after addressing a meeting of his party's newly-formed wing All India Unorganised Workers Congress (AIUWC), said, "I happily answer all your questions fortnightly". Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the NDA government took over in 2014, "quickly recognised the seriousness of the situation" to go in for the emergency procurement of the 36 Rafales in a flyaway condition. "Why PM bypassed experienced HAL & gave the deal to AA rated businessman with no defence experience?"

The Congress had raised several questions on the deal, accusing the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting "crony capitalism" and causing a loss to the public exchequer.


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