Demand To Disclose Details On Rafale Deal 'Unrealistic', Says Defence Ministry

| February 8 , 2018 , 08:12 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday gave a lengthy response in the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's address, however, he did not mention anything on the Rafale deal, which the Congress had been questioning.

As the Opposition pointed out PM Modi's silence on the matter, the Ministry of Defence released an official statement saying that demands to disclose details on the Rafale deal were 'unrealistic'.

"The demand that the Government disclose the details and value of the contract for the Rafale aircraft contracted in 2016 is unrealistic," said the defence ministry, in an official statement.

"The procurement 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 Defence Procurement Procedure in all aspects," it said.

"The approximate acquisition cost of the Rafale aircraft has already been provided to Parliament. Provision of exact item-wise cost and other information will reveal, inter alia, details regarding the various customizations and weapons systems specially designed to augment the effectiveness and lethality of the assets, impact our military preparedness and compromise our national security," it said.

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"Such details would also come under the ambit of the security agreement signed in 2008. Thus, in not revealing the item-wise details of the contract, the government is merely following in letter and spirit the confidentiality provisions of a bilateral India-France Agreement of 2008 signed by the previous government," the statement continued, pointing out that UPA government had also refused to disclose the price of defence procurements.

"It seems to have been conveniently forgotten that then government itself had company's unsolicited offer made days after the closure of bid process, declared Rafale as the L1 bidder and had commenced negotiations with it in February 2012," said the statement.

"It may also be noted that contrary to the impression sought to be created by the Opposition, in the earlier proposal to procure Rafale, which ended in a stalemate, there was no provision for ToT but only to manufacture (108 of the 126 jets) under licence (by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics). The (UPA) government was unable to agree on the terms for even that in its negotiations with the vendor, resulting in the long-drawn exercise ultimately turning futile," the statement said.

The Congress had been alleging that the price of the re-negotiated Rafale fighter jets was considerably higher than the cost negotiated by the UPA government, and that a preference was given in terms of the Indian collaborator on the deal.