Explain Rafale cost, Rahul Gandhi tells Nirmala Sitharaman

Posted November 20, 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the NDA government took over in 2014, "quickly recognised the seriousness of the situation" to go in for the emergency procurement of the 36 Rafales in a flyaway condition.

The final agreement for 36 Rafale jets was signed in 2016 after five rounds of discussions between Indian and French sides and approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security, she said.

The Rafale fighter jet has been selected for outstanding performance and competitive price, and through a completely transparent process, said French officials on Wednesday, refuting Congress' allegations that the deal was overpriced and favoured one company.

The Congress is also faulting Modi for damaging the interests of the public sector HAL that would have acquired the technology under the deal negotiated by the UPA government to have indigenous capability to produce more such aircraft indigenously.

"We should think about bringing out products that would continue to hold value for the next 50 years", she said.

Although government sources have previously argued that the two prices can not be compared because of different add-ons, weapon suites, training, maintenance and infrastructure requirements in the two agreements, Sitharaman said that "we have obtained a far better deal per aircraft (than the UPA)".

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?"

"Yes, the French Defence Minister raised the matter with me, but I haven't given any answer", she said. "The government has negotiated a very good deal", Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said. The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September, 2019.

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