Congress raises more questions on Rafale deal

PTI file

PTI file

"The deal was finalised following a transparent procedure", Sitharaman told reporters.

She said the due process of clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security was followed with active participation of then defence minister Manohar Parrikar.

"India's defence preparedness cannot be subject matter of politicising nor can the sacrosanct premises of "Defence Ministry" be used for political mudslinging as is being done by Prime Minister Modi government and its Defence Minister", Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said while addressing the media here.

Asked if French Defence Minister Florence Parly raised the issue of purchase of more Rafale fighter jets during her visit to India last month, Sitharaman replied in the affirmative.

"We should think about bringing out products that would continue to hold value for the next 50 years", she said.

Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa had said in the annual press conference of IAF that full squadron strength will be reached by 2032.

Delayed by alliance talks, disputes, Congress first list likely tomorrow
The votes will be counted on December 18, along with those of Himachal Pradesh, where elections were held on November 9. Thakor also held talks with the Congress leadership on Friday.

India inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procuring 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore, almost one-and-half years after Prime Minister Modi announced the proposal during a visit to Paris. "It is lower than what was there in the MRMCA contract", he said without going into specifics.

She stressed that the Modi government realised the dire situation and ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets in fly away condition as it was an emergency and the Air Force urgently required the fighter jets.

"You ask lots of questions from me".

The Congress has alleged that the government neglected the interests of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) - as Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of Rafale aircraft, refused to transfer technology to it - and instead entered into an agreement with Reliance Defence.

Rahul also took pot shots at PM Modi over the Rafale deal on Twitter saying, "Can you explain "Reliance" on someone with nil experience in aerospace for Rafale deal?"

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