Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today hit out at the Congress for targeting the government over procurement deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets. She said that the allegations were ‘shameful’ and that such bickering was a ‘disservice’ to the armed forces.
"These allegations are shameful...The deal was finalised following a transparent procedure," Sitharaman told reporters.
The Defence Minister also called the bickering against the deal as "disservice" to the armed forces, asserting that urgent requirement of the Indian Air Force was the main reason for sealing it.
She said that the final agreement for 36 Rafale jets was signed in September, 2016, after five rounds of lengthy discussions between Indian and French sides and approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
She said the UPA government had sat over the proposed procurement of jets for 10 years.
Between 2004 and 2014, entire decade, the UPA govt could not come to a decision. Therefore when we came to power in 2014, we had to move forward so that the airforce is not left with the need for preparedness: Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister on Rafael deal pic.twitter.com/RIGbO2GPRg— ANI (@ANI) November 17, 2017
Yesterday, the Indian Air Force had said that there was "no overpricing" in the Rafale purchase as the government had "negotiated a very good" deal for the French fighter aircraft.
The Rafale deal has been the focus of debate with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of changing the "entire deal" to benefit a businessman, a charge debunked by the ruling BJP. The Congress party has also claimed technology is not being transferred to India under the deal.