Congress targets PM Narendra Modi over Rafale aircraft deal

The Congress added that after 41 months, not a single aircraft has come, not a single aircraft has been added to our fleet by people who are self-styled protectors of national interests.

Published: 14th November 2017 07:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2017 07:58 PM   |  A+A-

Image of Rafale fighter jets used for representational purpose only. (File | Reuters)

Express News Service

The Congress slammed the Modi government for compromising national security and alleged that a huge scam was brewing in the procurement of Rafale fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

“The prime minister has marred the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts from Dassault Aviation of France,” Congress communication department chief Randeep Surjewala said.

“After 41 months, not a single aircraft has come, not a single aircraft has been added to our fleet by people who are self-styled protector of national interests. During the entire tenure of this government not a single aircraft is likely to come,” he said.

The Congress said that Modi government signed the deal on September 23, 2016, for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from Dassault for US $ 8.7 billion and on October 3, Reliance Defence Limited owned by Anil Ambani tied up with the French company for a Joint venture for defence production in India.

The Congress cited a Reliance document to point out that off-sets in the deal, which are half the cost of 36 aircraft,  work out to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore.

“That means the deal is worth Rs. 60,000 crore,” said Surjewala, adding the government did not part with any information related to the deal despite several attempts by his party.

Non-transparency in the deal also denied the transfer of technology to the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Congress further said, adding the party had raised these concerns earlier when the deal was signed in 2015.

“During previous UPA regime, then PM Manmohan Singh had said India would not buy the aircraft if there was no transfer of technology. Mr Modi compromised that clause,” he said adding, “That is the saddest part. Dassault is no longer obliged to transfer technology to manufacture this aircraft to either to HAL or to any other entity in India.”

Wondering why was the Modi government buying 36 Rafale Aircrafts at a highly inflated price compared to the originally negotiated base price by UPA, the Congress asked why did the prime minister take a unilateral decision by-passing the mandatory ‘Defence Procurement Procedure’ why did he promote the interests of one industrial group Reliance Defence Limited.

“Why has the joint venture for the biggest-ever Indian defence deal between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence Limited not gone through the proper procedure of approval by the Union Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Security and Foreign Investment Promotion Board,” Surjewala asked.

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