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Oppn demand to disclose Rafale deal details unrealistic, says defence ministry

The government statement comes amid a Congress president Rahul Gandhi-led attack on the Centre, alleging a scam in the 36 Rafale fighter jet deal with France.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2018 19:13 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Rafale deal,Congress,Rahul gandhi
A Rafale fighter aircraft at the AERO INDIA 2017 at Yelahanka Air base in Bengaluru. Congress president Gandhi has been attacking the government for its “silence” over the 36 Rafale jet deal with France. (PTI)

The Narendra Modi government on Wednesday termed the opposition’s demand to disclose details of the 2016 Rafale aircraft deal as “unrealistic”, a day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged a “scam” in the contract.

“Demand that Government disclose details and value of the contract for the Rafale aircraft contracted in 2016 is unrealistic. The approximate acquisition cost...has already been provided to the Parliament,” said the ministry of defence in a statement.

“Provision of exact item-wise cost and other info will reveal, inter alia, details regarding various customisations and weapons systems specially designed to augment effectiveness and lethality of assets, impact our military preparedness and compromise our national security,” said the statement.

Congress president Gandhi, who has been attacking the government for its “silence” over the 36 Rafale jet deal with France since the Gujarat elections last year, on Tuesday cited defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement in Rajya Sabha refusing to disclose the price of the contract to target the BJP again.

On Wednesday, too, Gandhi brought up the Rafale deal after the prime minister’s address to Lok Sabha, saying Modi “talked for one hour, but did not utter a single word about the Rafale deal...”

But the government hit back at the opposition for raising “doubts” over the deal and reiterated that it was better in many aspects than the one “notionally negotiated” by the Congress regime, which could not conclude it in 10 years.

The deal was better in aspects such as capability, price and equipment, it said in a statement.

“It is also stressed once again that the procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft through an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France to meet the urgent need of the IAF is strictly in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure in all aspects...,” it said.

The present government had completed the negotiations in just about one year, it said.

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 18:53 IST