Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

PM betrayed India on Rafale deal, dishonoured our soldiers’ blood: Rahul

The deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 PM betrayed India on Rafale deal, dishonoured our soldiers’ blood: Rahul
Faye Gross | 22 September, 2018, 21:56

Congress President Rahul Gandhi took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the latest revelations.

Former French President claims the Indian government suggested the private firm for the Rafale offset contract. Ahead of India's 2019 general election, in which Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party will campaign on its pro-poor policies and economic development record, the allegations of impropriety against the government could provide fuel to opposition critiques that the prime minister is too cozy with tycoons.

In a sharp attack on Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused her of "lying" about the Rafale deal and demanded her resignation.

Reacting to the raging controversy over the deal, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said that unnecessary controversies were being sought to be created following media reports on a statement purportedly made by the former French President Francois Hollande, concerning the selection of Reliance Defence as the offset partner by Dassault. "We were given no choice, we took the partner which was appointed". "He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers", Congress President tweeted. The Congress has also alleged that the government was benefitting Reliance Defence through the deal as the company has set up a joint venture with Dassault Aviation to execute the offset obligation for the deal.

In a statement released on Saturday, the Communist Party of India demanded the immediate formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee "so that the role of the Prime Minster and government is enquired into to find out the truth of the matter". Hollande was quoted as saying Narendra Modi's government had influenced the choice of a local partner. "Dassault Aviation and Reliance have built a plant in Nagpur for manufacturing parts for Falcon and Rafale aircraft", the company said.

Hollande's comments drew sharp reactions from the opposition parties which have been accusing the government of massive irregularities in the deal and benefiting Reliance Defence Ltd (RDL) despite not having any experience in the aerospace sector. When asked whether India had put pressure on Reliance and Dassault to work together, the ex-President said he was unaware and "only Dassault can comment on this".

Senator Gives Kavanaugh Accuser More Time to Decide About Testimony
Republicans have pressured Ford to testify at a hearing this Monday, a session at which Kavanaugh has already said he'd appear. According to a media report, the lawyer for Ford asked late Friday for an extra day to decide if she will testify next week.


"Defence Minister has been called out again!"

Hollande, who spoke to the French media house Mediapart, said, "It's the Indian government which proposed this service group [meaning Reliance], and Dassault which negotiated with Ambani".

Notably, Reliance Defence is not making components for Rafales, but building assemblies for Dassault business jets.

"It is reiterated that neither GoI nor [the] French government had any say in the commercial decision". "Shame on you. You betrayed India's soul (sic)", Gandhi tweeted.

"By hiding crucial facts on Rafale deal, is Modi government not endangering national security?"

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