Allegations relating to Rafale deal shameful

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 a year ago.

The minister also rubbished allegations of procedural violations, stating the Rafale deal was signed with "the Cabinet Committee on Security in the loop" and her predecessor Manohar Parrikar's active participation.

She said it was only Prime Minister Narendra Modi who boldly made a decision to sign the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets. She said that the previous dispensation spent 10 years in the procurement procedure of 126 fighter jets and did not sign the deal even after the lowest bidder was selected.

"We should think about bringing out products that would continue to hold value for the next 50 years", she said. It was not financially prudent to negotiate ToT for just 36 fighters, she said.

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?" "The price we arrived at is lesser", she said. "The government has negotiated a very good deal", Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said.

Lakhvi's nephew among 6 militants, soldier killed in Hajin gunfight
In October, two IAF Garud commandos were killed in an encounter that also left two terrorists including a local recruit dead. One of the terrorists killed in the encounter is Owaid, nephew of 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi.

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.

The deliveries of the aircraft will start from 2019 end, and will be ended in 2022.

"Through the entire decade 2004-2014, the UPA government was unable to come to a decision to strengthen our defence preparedness".

"I am amazed over the patently baseless allegations being levelled by the Congress party on the whole Rafale deal", Prasad told reporters.

  • Sonia Alvarado