Rafale deal better than one 'notionally negotiated' by Congress, says Government

Rafale deal better than one 'notionally negotiated' by Congress, says Government

Rejecting the Opposition's allegations of a "scam" in the Rafale deal, the government on Wednesday said the deal of 36 Rafale fighter jets with France secured by the BJP-led NDA government was much better than that negotiated by the previous UPA government during its tenure.

By: || Updated: 07 Feb 2018 06:31 PM

The defence ministry said the demand that the government discloses the details and value of the contract for the Rafale aircraft contracted in 2016 is unrealistic. Photo: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

NEW DELHI: Rejecting the Opposition's allegations of a "scam" in the Rafale deal, the government on Wednesday said the deal of 36 Rafale fighter jets with France secured by the BJP-led NDA government was much better than that negotiated by the previous UPA government during its tenure.

"Unfounded allegations are being made regarding the 2016 Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to procure 36 Rafale aircraft in fly-away condition from France. This would normally not have merited a response but for the serious damage being caused by the misleading statements, sought to be repeatedly perpetrated on a serious matter of national security," the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

The ministry said the demand that the government discloses the details and value of the contract for the Rafale aircraft contracted in 2016 is unrealistic.

"The approximate acquisition cost of the Rafale aircraft has already been provided to the Parliament. Provision of exact item-wise cost and other information will reveal, inter alia, details regarding the various customizations and weapons systems specially designed to augment the effectiveness and lethality of the assets, impact our military preparedness and compromise our national security. Such details would also come under the ambit of the security agreement signed in 2008," it said.



The ministry said by not revealing the item-wise details of the contract, the government is merely following in letter and spirit the confidentiality provisions of a bilateral India-France Agreement of 2008 signed by the then UPA government.

"As doubts are sought to be created about the 2016 contract for 36 aircraft, it is once again strongly reiterated that the deal secured by the Government is better in terms of capability, price, equipment, delivery, maintenance, training, etc., than that notionally negotiated by the then Government in a process it could not conclude in ten years. Moreover, the present Government completed these negotiations in just about one year," it said.

The government said the procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft through an Inter-Governmental Agreement with France to meet the urgent need of the IAF is strictly in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure in all aspects.

The government's strong reaction came a day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched an attack on the Modi government, alleging that the deal was a "scam" given that the government was not sharing the price of the aircraft.

Rahul's statement came after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman created an uproar after she told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that she could not divulge details of the deal citing a "secrecy clause" in the agreement signed with the French government.

The Congress has been alleging that the Centre agreed to buy 36 Rafale aircrafts at inflated prices after Prime Minister Modi visited France. The party has also raised questions about a deal between a firm owned by Anil Ambani and Dassault, which makes the Rafale.

Defence Minister Sitharaman has accused the erstwhile UPA government of sitting on the procurement of fighter aircraft for 10 years.

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