Why did Congress sit on Rafale deal for 10 years: Nirmala Sitharaman

by Garry Watts November 20, 2017, 0:25
Why did Congress sit on Rafale deal for 10 years: Nirmala Sitharaman

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.

She was repeatedly asked by the journalists to share the comparative aircraft costs for the two governments, following Congress's allegations that 36 jets would now be obtained at Rs 58,000 crore whereas the previous agreement would have entailed the procurement of 126 Rafale jets at around Rs 54,000 crore in 2012.

Terming the Congress allegations about Rafale fighter jet deal as "shameful", Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today these amounted to "disservice" to the armed forces, in first firm rebuttal of the charges levelled by the main opposition party. "The deal was finalised following a transparent procedure", Sitharaman told reporters. We have negotiated for 36 French fighter aircraft Rafale (at a price) lower than that in the contract. Gandhi said the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman should explain the final price of a Rafale jet.

Presenting the detailed timeline of the case she pinned the blame of the delay in the deal on the then UPA government.

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Mr Gandhi's retort comes a day after Ms Sitharaman alleged that it was shameful on part of the Congress to raise objections on the fighter aircraft deal. "The government has negotiated a very good deal".

The deliveries of the aircraft will start from 2019 end, and will be ended in 2022.

The Congress recently raised several questions about the deal including the rates, and accused the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting "crony capitalism" and causing a loss to the public exchequer. "What about the loot?", he tweeted tagging a report on the Rafale deal.

Sitharaman said that 36 Rafale fighters were bought as the government wanted to procure fighter jets at the earliest, and added that more fighter jets will have to be bought to meet the Indian Air Force's requirements.


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