Modi government lied on India-specific enhancements in Rafale deal: Congress

Chandigarh: Congress on Saturday alleged that Modi government lied on the India-specific enhancements in the Rs 41,000-crore Rafale deal and demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s reply.

The party said India-specific enhancements in the NDA deal were the same as the UPA deal.

“Yet the Prime Minister and Defence Minister are lying on enhancement of cost per aircraft from Rs 5,26 crore to Rs 1,670 crore,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in a statement.

“Modi government has been caught in a web of lies of its own making,” he added.

The party said the deal caused a massive loss of Rs 41,000 crore to public exchequer by purchasing the 36 Rafale aircraft with the same configuration at thrice the price i.e. Rs. 526 crore per aircraft during Congress-UPA to Rs 1,670 crore per aircraft during Modi government.

The party said the deal squandered away ‘national interests’ by forgoing the transfer of technology to public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).

Surjewala said Modi, Sitharaman and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley “brazenly lied” when they tried to whitewash Modi government’s “sins” by implying that the aircraft bought by the BJP government was different on account of India-specific enhancements.

“Information in public domain affirms that according to the ‘Air Staff Qualitative Requirements’ (ASQR) provided by the Indian Air Force (IAF) there were 13 India-specific enhancements demanded by India during the 126 aircraft MMRCA Contract issued by UPA government,” said Surjewala.

It included Radar enhancement, Helmet-mounted display, Towed decoy system, Low band jammer, Radio altimeter and Ability to start and operate from High Altitude Airfields.

“Combat aircraft tender issued by Congress government clearly envisaged ‘full weaponry’ and ‘transfer of technology’, which is missing in the BJP government’s deal.

“RFP issued by Congress government clearly states cost of initial purchase, transfer of technology and licensed production,” said the leader.

The party said claim of Modi government that cost is increased on account on additional technical specifications was blatantly false.

“The Rafale aircraft being purchased earlier (UPA-Congress Govt) and now (Modi government) including ‘its associated systems and weapons’ are the same as tested and approved by Indian Air Force during UPA-Congress government,” he added.