Allegations relating to Rafale deal shameful: Sitharaman

Questioning the previous UPA governments "inability" to finalise the deal even after 10 years of negotiations between 2004 and 2014, the defence minister wondered whether the Congress does not owe an explanation to the country over the delay in taking a decision when IAF badly needed the jets.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) said that there was "no overpricing" in the Rafale purchase as the government had "negotiated a very good" deal for the French fighter aircraft.

It was decided that of the 126 aircraft, 18 would come in fly away condition and the remaining 108 will be manufactured in India by HAL with transfer of techonology, he said.

As per the 36-fighter deal inked by the NDA government, which does not include any ToT, each jet comes for around Rs 710 crore. 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.

"Dear RM (Raksha Mantri), what's shameful is your boss silencing you", he tweeted, asking her to otherwise answer three questions she skipped in an official Press conference here on Friday.

India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September last year for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore, almost one- and-half years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the proposal during a visit to Paris. "All procedures were scrupulously followed. We had to move forward fast", she said. "This potentially compromised national security interests", she said.

He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of bypassing procedure in finalising the purchase of 36 fighter jets with the French.

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?" "No offset contracts have been signed so far".

  • Jon Douglas