Allegations against Rafale deal are misleading: Defence ministry

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NEW DELHI: The NDA government attacked Congress on Wednesday for “unfounded and misleading” accusations against the rupees contract worth 59,000 crore for 36 French Rafale combatants, reiterating that it had ensured a “better deal” in terms of price, capacity , equipment, delivery and maintenance that “negotiated theoretically” by the previous UPA regime.

“The acquisition 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 Defense Acquisition Procedure in all aspects,” said the Ministry of Defense, in a page of two pages. declaration.

The Ministry of Defense said the demand to disclose the details and the value of the Rafale agreement contract, which was signed in September 2016 after the NDA government ruled out the stalled acquisition process initiated by the previous UPA regime for the acquisition of 126 fighters, was “unrealistic”.

“The approximate cost of acquisition of the Rafale aircraft has already been provided to Parliament, the exact provision of costs and other information will reveal, among other things, the details regarding the various customizations and weapons systems specially designed to increase the efficiency and The lethality of the aircraft, assets, affect our military preparation and compromise our national security, “he said.

“Such details would also fall within the scope of the security agreement signed in 2008. Therefore, by not disclosing the details of the contract on the subject, the government simply follows in letter and spirit the confidentiality provisions of a bilateral India-France Agreement. of 2008, signed by the previous government, “he said, adding that the UPA government had refused to disclose the price of defense procurement, even in response to Parliament’s questions.

As previously reported by TOI, while each Rafale jet will cost Rs 670 crore, the cost per unit rises to almost Rs 1,640 crore if the general agreement is taken into account, which includes a deadly weapon package, all parts and costs of the 75% fleet availability and logistic support based on performance for five years, among other things.

Congress alleged that the “non-transparent” treatment was too expensive, violated defense procurement procedures and included no technology transfer (ToT).

The Ministry of Defense’s statement refuted the statement by the head of Congress that the Modi government opted for Rafale fighters, even when Eurofighter Typhoon had offered to cut its price by 20%. “It seems that it conveniently forgot that the government itself had the unsolicited offer of the company days after the bidding process was closed, declared Rafale as the L1 bidder and had begun negotiations with him in February 2012,” the statement said. , refraining from mentioning Eurofighter.

“It can also be observed that, contrary to the impression that was intended to be created by the opposition, in the previous proposal to acquire Rafale, which ended in a stalemate, there were no provisions for ToT, only for manufacturing (108 of the 126 jets) under license (by the PSU Hindustan Aeronautics defense) The government (UPA) could not reach an agreement on the terms even in its negotiations with the supplier, which resulted in the prolonged exercise finally becoming useless “, said the Ministry of Defense.

The ministry also said that the UPA government did not implement the decision made in 2012 to deal with the alarming decline in the IAF’s combat force and that even the 2012 decision to buy Rafale fighters was suspended because “the then Minister of Defense He exercised an unprecedented personal veto. ” .

He also denied congressional accusations that the Reliance group led by Anil Ambani was one of the beneficiaries of the agreement. “Until now, the DA (Dassault Aviation) provider had not selected any Indian compensation partners for the 2016 agreement.” The ministry said it was for the DA to select the Indian compensation partners.