Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (File Picture)
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (File Picture)

Jaitley throws weight behind Air Force chief, castigates Congress

ANI | Updated: Dec 21, 2018 22:32 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 21 (ANI): Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday threw his weight behind Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, and castigated the Congress for criticising Air Force chief, who stressed the need for Rafale fighter planes to improve India's combat ability.
In a Facebook post, Jaitley wrote, "The Congress spokespersons are criticising the Chief of the Indian Air Force for having stated that the Air Force urgently needs the Rafale to improve its combat ability. It is the Indian Air Force and its Chief who are the most competent persons to comment on it."
Jaitley further said: "The Air Force was involved in the selection of Rafale when the UPA was in power, as also when the NDA is in power. The aircraft with its weaponry is needed to maintain the combat ability of our forces. Having shortlisted, both in terms of its potential and costing, Rafale as the most appropriate aircraft with weaponry in 2012, the Congress leaders' comments against it now lack credibility."
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on the Rafale jet deal. Addressing media during his visit to Air Force Station at Jodhpur, he said, "The Supreme Court has given a very fine judgment and I am not going to comment on it. It has also said that this plane is badly needed. Rafale is always a need for the Air Force."
Jaitley alleged that Congress has broken the unwritten rule of politics that is the forces are kept out of political discourse. "Additionally, by targeting the Chief of a Service in a political debate, the Congress Party has broken a long-standing unwritten rule of Indian politics. We keep our forces out of political discourse," he said.
"Our military is a professional one and subject to a civilian authority. Unlike our western neighbour, it is non-political and non-partisan.After having ruled this country for decades, the grand old party needs to mature," said Jaitley.
Finance Minister Jaitley also accused the Congress of speaking out first and understanding the issue subsequently. "The power to intercept in the interest of national security and public order already exists in law. This is only ordered as to who are the authorised agencies. It is only in cases mentioned in Section 69 of the IT Act," he said.
"The power existed and was used during the UPA government also. How else will terrorists who use technology extensively be traced? Otherwise, the terrorists will use IT, but the intelligence and investigative agencies will be crippled," Jaitley added.
The Rafale jet deal controversy has been on the boil over the last few a months. The Congress has alleged irregularities in the deal for 36 aircraft and claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government is buying these aircraft at a price much higher than the one that was being negotiated by the previous UPA government.
Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking a probe into the Rafale deal. But later the controversy on the Supreme Court's verdict started after the Centre filed an application before the top court seeking correction in its judgment on the deal. (ANI)