Cong. charge on Rafale deal baseless: Sitharaman

October 02, 2018 12:13 am | Updated 12:13 am IST - AHMEDABAD

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday that the allegations made by the Congress on the Rafale deal were baseless. The NDA government decided to buy 36 jets in fly-away condition as against only 18 jets proposed during the UPA regime, she told presspersons here.

The Congress has demanded that the government explain why only 36 jets were being purchased, instead of 126 proposed originally, if they were cheaper under the NDA deal than the one worked out by the UPA.

The Defence Minister dismissed the allegation and said that under the UPA, the proposal was to buy only 18 jets. “In their deal also, there was a provision for purchase of 18 fighter jets in fly-away condition, and the remaining were to be produced later,” she said. “In fact, our government increased the number of fly-away condition purchase from one squadron [18] to two squadrons [36].”

“Considering the emergency requirement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he went to France, inquired what can be delivered immediately and on the basis of that this figure of 36 jets was finalised.” She said the first of the planes would be available to India in September 2019.

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