Published: Sat, November 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Rahul targets Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman on Rafale deal

Rahul targets Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman on Rafale deal

Yesterday, the Indian Air Force had said that there was "no overpricing" in the Rafale purchase as the government had "negotiated a very good" deal for the French fighter aircraft.

Although government sources have previously argued that the two prices can not be compared because of different add-ons, weapon suites, training, maintenance and infrastructure requirements in the two agreements, Sitharaman said that "we have obtained a far better deal per aircraft (than the UPA)".

As per the 36-fighter deal inked by the NDA government, which does not include any ToT, each jet comes for around Rs 710 crore.

Responding to charges levied by the Opposition party, she also said that a "Transfer of Technology" was not sought in this deal as it was not viable and it could have escalated the price. She said that the allegations were "shameful" and that such bickering was a "disservice" to the armed forces.

India and France signed an inter-government agreement for purchase of 36 Rafale fighters, off-the-shelf, on September 23 this year.

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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has said that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's boss is "silencing" her, escalating the war of words between the Congress and the BJP over the Rafale deal.

"We should think about bringing out products that would continue to hold value for the next 50 years", she said. "What about the loot?", he tweeted tagging a report on the Rafale deal. There was an urgent need for the acquisition of the planes for the IAF's defence preparedness. "This potentially compromised national security interests", she said. This was after a long negotiation over the price and other aspects of the deal, which was agreed upon during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France in April 2015.

She said the cost of each aircraft along with weapon systems was much lower than what was negotiated by the UPA government.

He also asked the media why it was not posing questions to Modi, whom he accused of changing the Rafale deal to the "benefit one businessman".

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