Purchase of more Rafales was raised by France last month: Defence Minister


Although government sources have previously argued that the two prices can not be compared because of different add-ons, weapon suites, training, maintenance and infrastructure requirements in the two agreements, Sitharaman said that "we have obtained a far better deal per aircraft (than the UPA)".

The defence minister also attacked the Congress by blaming it for sitting for 10 years on plans to buy the fighter jets that the Indian Air Force needed.

He also said that the Prime Minister took a unilateral decision on buying the Dassault aircraft, by-passing the mandatory "Defence Procurement Procedure" and without an inter-governmental agreement with France.

However, when asked repeatedly about comparative cost of each aircraft negotiated by the then UPA government and the rate at which the deal was sealed previous year, Sitharaman said she was not running away from sharing the details and asked the officials to give the figures to the media.

The deliveries of the aircraft will start from 2019 end, and will be ended in 2022.

On Friday, Congress had countered Nirmala saying, there are repeated attempts to cover up the irregularities in the deal and it raises serious questions on "national interests" and security.

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He said the Defence Minister's statement that the purchase was done on an on emergency basis was wrong.

Sitharaman said in 2012, Rafale was identified as the lowest bidder.

"After being in power for 10 years.you (Congress party-led UPA) went without taking a decision", she said. Why don't you question Prime Minister Modi on the Rafale deal, or on Amit Shah's son.

Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa had said in the annual press conference of IAF that full squadron strength will be reached by 2032. "What about the loot?", he tweeted tagging a report on the Rafale deal.

He said the deal was "properly revisited" at the government-to-government level and many additional facilities and opportunities had been added in terms of weapons, training of Indian pilots, and supply of spares.