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Rafale deal: Defence Minister rebuts Congress charges

Dismissing Congress’ charges on the offset contract, she said that the NDA govt only followed the UPA govt’s Offset Policy. She also said that top leadership of countries doesn’t discuss minute details of deals and in this case too the Prime Minister of India and the French President showed interest in entering a deal and the minute details were negotiated by experts and officers.

The govt has once again refuted allegations levelled by the Congress on the Rafale fighter jets deal. Fielding questions in a press interaction, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that it was ironic that the Congress was comparing it’s non-agreement with the inter-governmental agreement reached by the NDA govt since the UPA govt did not reach a deal during its tenure.

The Defence Minister explained that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then French President had only shown interest in entering a deal in April 2015 and the inter-governmental agreement was signed in September 2016 after nearly one and a half years of negotiations.

The Union Minister dismissed Congress’ allegations related to the Nitty gritty of the deal, saying top leadership of the 2 countries don’t discuss the minutiae of deals.

The Defence Minister said that the UPA govt had come out with an Offset Policy under which any Original Equipment Manufacturer can select any number of Indian partners, both from the private sector and the public sector, for offset supplies.

She said the NDA govt had only followed that policy. Nirmala Sitharaman said that Congress’ inability to reach the Rafale deal shows its approach towards national security.

Comparing two deals, the Union Minister said that while the UPA govt was negotiating for procuring 18 aircraft in flyaway condition, the NDA govt is procuring 36 aircraft in flyaway condition.

She said that the govt has informed the Parliament about the base price of each aircraft negotiated by the NDA govt.

Nirmala Sitharaman’s press interaction was yet another bid by the govt to present facts about the deal to the people.

While the govt has clarified on the matter time and again, the Opposition is still flogging the issue.

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