Opposition misleading country over Rafale deal: Govt.

ANI | Updated: Feb 07, 2018 19:26 IST

New Delhi [India] Feb 7 (ANI): The Government of India on Wednesday gave detailed clarification on the Rafale deal controversy and said the opposition is misleading the country.

On Tuesday, the Congress posed eight questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the deal.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Prime Minister personally went to Paris and changed the deal.

The Centre said it was issuing clarification over the 2016 Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to procure 36 Rafale aircraft in fly-away condition from France because the opposition was misleading nation on a serious matter of national security.

"In another effort to twist facts, the Government is asked why it did not conduct negotiations with a particular company representing a competing fighter aircraft. It seems to have been conveniently forgotten that the then Government itself had rejected that company's unsolicited offer made days after closure of the bid process, declared Rafale (DA) as the L1 bidder and had commenced negotiations with it in February 2012," the Centre said in a statement.

The Government of India further termed the demand to disclose details and value of the Rafale aircraft as "unrealistic".

"The demand that the Government disclose the details and value of the contract for the Rafale aircraft contracted in 2016 is unrealistic. [In keeping with confidentiality requirements, the UPA Government had also expressed its inability to disclose the price of various defence procurements, including in its responses to Parliament Questions]," the statement said.

The Centre also said the Opposition's demand to disclose exact item-wise cost and other information will impact military preparedness and compromise national security.

"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," said the Union Government.

It added that "such details would also come under the ambit of the security agreement signed in 2008. Thus, in 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 previous Government".

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government also said its deal is much better than that of previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

"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," said the NDA government.

The government also stressed that 36 Rafale aircrafts were procured to meet the urgent need of the Indian Air Force strictly in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure.

"The procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft to meet the urgent need of the IAF is strictly in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure in all aspects including mandating, conducting and monitoring of negotiations and seeking all necessary approvals, including that of the Cabinet Committee on Security, before entering into the IGA. The aircraft had already been evaluated successfully by IAF during 2009-10," said the statement.

On the issue of transfer of technology, the government said, "It may also be noted that contrary to the impression sought, to be created by the Opposition, in the earlier proposal to procure Rafale, which ended in a stalemate, there was no provision for transfer of technology but only to manufacture under licence. The Government was unable to agree on the terms for even that in its negotiations with the vendor, resulting in the long-drawn exercise under the earlier Government ultimately turning futile."

Reacting to the Congress allegation on why an Indian private company with zero experience in aviation was chosen as an offset partner to manufacture Rafale jets, the MoD said no offset partners has been selected so far.

"Further, no Indian Offset Partner for the 2016 deal for 36 Rafale Aircraft has been so far selected by the vendor (DA) because as per the applicable guidelines, DA is free to select the Indian Offset Partners and provide their details at the time of seeking offset credits, or one year prior to discharge of offset obligation," it said. (ANI)