No scam in Rafale jet deal, says Defence Minister

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister | Photo Credit: PTI

Sitharaman says US sanctions on Russia will not affect negotiations for air defence systems

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has reiterated that there is no scam in the Rafale fighter jet deal signed with France and allegations of misdoings were “motivated attacks’’ and baseless.

Sitharaman also said that negotiations with Russia for S-400 air defence systems are in the final stage and will not be impacted by the US sanctions on Russia.

Addressing a press conference to mark the BJP government’s four years in power, Sitharaman said false comparisons were made between the price at which India was procuring the jets and the prices negotiated by some other countries. “There has not been any misdoing there. We have spent time explaining how the decision was taken and that it was an inter-governmental agreement,” she said responding to a query on Rafale. The Defence Minister had termed the allegations of a scam surrounding the Rafale deal as motivated and baseless in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha in December 2017. The Congress had alleged a “ huge scam’’ in the Rafale deal stating that the Modi government was indulging in an unforgivable game of “compromising national interests’’ and national security by not following procedures.

On the issue of the US not supporting India’s defence deal with Russia, Sitharaman said it had been made clear to the US that India and Russia’s defence cooperation was on for a very long time and it was a time-tested relationship. She said the negotiations for S-400 air defence systems with Russia were to be concluded soon.

Responding to questions on the on-going Ramzan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir, Sitharaman said the Army will continue to respect it but unprovoked attack from across the border will not go unanswered as the forces have been given the right to hit back.

Published on June 05, 2018
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