Rahul targets Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman on Rafale deal

Rahul targets Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman on Rafale deal

Rahul targets Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman on Rafale deal

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 previous year.

India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September last year for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs. 58,000 crore, almost one-and-half years after the Prime Minister announced the proposal during a visit to Paris.

"These allegations are shameful.The deal was finalised following a transparent procedure", Sitharaman told reporters.

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Surjewala said the UPA government floated a tender on August 20, 2007 for purchase of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for the Air Force and, post negotiations, two of them-Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon remained in the reckoning. "We had to move forward fast", she said. It was not financially prudent to negotiate ToT for just 36 fighters, she said. "The price we arrived at is lesser", she said.

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.

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.

Chennai: Those aspiring to make equipment for the defence forces must be futuristic, said Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September, 2019. But the per unit cost zooms to nearly Rs 1,640 crore if the overall deal is taken into account, which includes a deadly weapons package, all spares and costs for 75% fleet availability and performance-based logistics support for five years, among other things, as reported by TOI earlier.

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