The Indian National Congress has questioned the rationale behind the Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to purchase French Rafale jets at an inflated price.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — With France pushing for the sale of more Rafale combat jets to India, India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress (INC), has charged the Narendra Modi-led government with violating serious defense purchase rules and has alleged that the Rafale deal undermines national interest and national security.
Citing a the series of questionable developments that led to the signing of the “costly” Rafale deal, the INC has demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi answer every doubt the opposition has about the deal.
“Why is the Modi government buying 36 Rafale aircraft at a highly inflated price compared to the originally negotiated base price by the previous government? Is it not correct that the Modi government is buying 36 Rafale aircraft without the transfer of technology for $8.7 billion while the previous government had negotiated 126 Rafale aircraft at a base price of $10.2 billion along with the transfer of technology,” Randeep Singh Surjewala, principal spokesperson of INC said.
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Surjewala said that a “huge scam” is brewing with regard to the procurement of fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force. “Why was this done by Prime Minister bypassing the interests of a reputed public sector undertaking like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)? Why has the joint venture for the biggest ever Indian defense 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 said.
The corruption allegation comes just a few days after the French defense minister along with Dassault Chairman Eric Trappier laid the foundation stone of Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited’s (DRAL’s) manufacturing facility at Mihan in India. The plant is expected to start production as early as 2018, and the first Rafale is expected to land in India in 2019. During his recent Indian tour, Trappier tried to evade the Indian media’s question on why Dassault had inflated the price of 36 Rafale. “You have to ask the [Indian] government this question,” Trappier had replied.