Your boss silencing you is 'shameful': Rahul Gandhi to Nirmala Sitharaman
00:21, Nov 20, 2017
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The Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman rubbished the Congress allegations about the Rafale purchase contract and insisted that it is an Inter governmental deal between India and France where due diligence and proper procedure was followed before it was signed in September past year.
The Congress alleged that during his visit to France in April 2015, Prime Minister Modi cancelled the earlier Rafale deal signed by the UPA - that made public sector undertaking, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) a partner of the French manufacturer Dassault Aviation - to buy 36 aircraft in flyaway condition at a much higher rate.
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. Gandhi said the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman should explain the final price of a Rafale jet. "The UPA government from 2004-2014 could not arrive on a decision to address this critical necessity of fighters for the IAF". "Why PM bypassed experienced HAL and gave the deal to AA rated businessman with no defence experience?"
Speaking at an interactive session organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce And Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) here on Friday, she said whatever is manufactured by the industry will turn invalid in a year's time in the defence world.
While the Congress was alleging that a scam was brewing in the deal, the BJP claimed that the renegotiated deal was transparent and better than the deal negotiated by the previous UPA government.
"That was the grim situation when this government came to power in 2014 and, therefore, we had to move forward so that the air force is not left with unattended requirements for the sake of preparedness", she said. The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September, 2019. Indian Air Force bases at Ambala in Haryana, close to the western border, and Hashimara in West Bengal, close to the China border, are set to home the squadrons of Rafale fighters.
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