New Rafale Deal Gives India An Edge Over Pakistan, Says Former Def Min Manohar Parrikar

| December 10 , 2017 , 10:22 IST

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who served as the Union Defence Minister succeeding UPA's A K Antony when the NDA came to power in 2014, spoke out on the Rafale Deal that the Congress has labelled a 'scam', saying that the deal gives India superiority over Pakistan in terms of air power.

Congress leaders, ahead of the Gujarat polls, alleged that a deal for Rafale fighter jets finalised during the UPA government was cancelled by the BJP when the NDA came into power, and was later finalised by the NDA at a higher cost.

Parrikar, speaking at the Goa Arts and Literature Festival in Panaji on Saturday after launching the book 'Securing India The Modi Way' written by Nitin Gokhale, accused Antony of place a 'logjam' on the Rafale deal.

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"Antony had put strange noting on the file dealing with Rafale purchase. He mentioned on the file 'start discussion, finalise price and after everything is finished please come back to me' with all the documentary evidence of how the Rafale company was the lowest (bidder)," Parrikar said.

"Now the CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) guideline says you can't negotiate with anyone other than the lowest (bidder). The files were going in circles and circles," he said.

"We broke the circle by deciding that we will have to go for different approach," Parrikar added.

The former Defence Minister, Parrikar who left the position to become Goa Chief Minister in March this year, responded to Congress allegations on the 'high price' of the Rafale jets.

"A fighter aircraft is not only an aircraft, the aircraft is probably a smaller part of the total cost. The real cost comes in purchasing special equipment," said Parrikar.

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"An aircraft may cost 90 million euros but other components will cost you 150 million euros because you have to make it fighting-fit," he said.

"Unfortunately we deal with the purchases of fighters as if we are buying toor dal and mung dal" Parrikar said, claiming that the Congress leaders "do not know anything" about Defence.

Parrikar further elaborated on the urgency of finalising the Rafale deal, describing how between 1999 and 2014 Pakistan acquired a missile range capacity of 100km while India had upgraded to only 60km.

"We were now in danger of being shot down by Pakistani fighters staying 100 km away and not being able to retaliate and Rafale deal took care of this with a missile with a range of 150 km fitted on aircraft," Parrikar said.