Congress peddling untruth, false campaign on Rafale deal: Jaitley

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 30 Aug 2018 08:57:49



The deal NDA Government has entered into with France is better than the one agreed in 2007 under UPA regime: Jaitley

FINANCE Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday accused Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi of “peddling untruth” and carrying out a “false campaign” on the Rafale deal as he sought to counter the Opposition’s charge of it being the “biggest scam” in the defence sector.

Replying to Congress’s posers with his own set of 15 questions for Gandhi, Jaitley said the deal NDA Government had entered into with France on April 10, 2015 for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets was on better terms than the one agreed to in 2007 under the UPA regime.
French manufacturer Dassault had offered to supply 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft in 2007.

Jaitley sought to bring out the Bofors ghost as well asking Congress if delays in decision making during its regime were based on collateral considerations like the ones witnessed in the purchase of Bofors guns.

Refusing to disclose details of the deal such as the price of the aircraft, due to constraints placed by “secrecy clause” in the contract, he said Congress’s allegations that NDA Government agreed to pay a higher price and is favouring a private industrialist are “complete falsehood.”

In a Facebook post, he then went on to pose 15 questions that included one about the decision-making paralysis under the UPA regime that led to delay of over one decade in ordering the aircraft, which compromised national security. “Can Rahul Gandhi and the Congress deny that the Indian Government has no contract whatsoever with any private industry in relation with the Rafale aircraft supplies? In fact, 36 of the Rafale aircraft with their Indian adaptations are going to be sent to India and there is no manufacturing of these aircraft in India,” he said.

Congress has repeatedly alleged a “scam” in the purchase of Rafale fighter jets claiming the cost per aircraft in 2012 was agreed at Rs 526.10 crore while the one signed under Prime Minister Narendra Modi costs Euro 7.5 billion (Rs 1,670.70 crore per aircraft).

Anil Ambani writes to Rahul Gandhi on Rafale deal, refutes allegations of lack of experience: BILLIONAIRE Anil Ambani has written to Congress President Rahul Gandhi refuting allegations of his Reliance Group lacking experience to get the Rafale fighter jet deal and said the Government had no role in French Group Dassault picking up his company as a local partner.

In a two-page letter written on December 12, 2017, Ambani explained to Gandhi, who has been attacking the Government over the Rafale deal, why his Reliance Group bagged the multi-billion dollar project.

Invoking his family’s “respectful relationship” with the Gandhi family over generations, Ambani said he was “personally saddened” by the “unfortunate statements” against him and his group by several functionaries of the Congress party.

“Not only do we have the necessary experience but we are also the leaders in several important areas of defense manufacture,” he said in the letter written on the last day of campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly polls that was marked by political mud-slinging over the Rafale fighter jet deal. He said Reliance Defence has the largest shipyard in the private sector at Pipavav in Gujarat and is currently building five Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) for the Indian Navy and 14 Fast Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard.

“The decision of the Government of India to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was made through an inter-Governmental agreement signed between the two countries. “Also, all these 36 aircraft are being manufactured in France and will be delivered on a ‘fly away’ basis from Dassault manufacturing facilities in France to the Indian Air Force and no Indian company has any role to play,” he said.

Dassault choose Reliance Group as its joint venture partner to meet the ‘offset’ or export obligation component of the deal and this was “an independent agreement between two corporate private sector entities, and Governments had no role to play in this matter,” he wrote.

Gandhi has been attacking the Government on the deal which he claims was inked at a much higher price than the one the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime had negotiated. Last week during the debate on the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, he accused the Government of changing the deal to benefit “one businessman”.

Ambani, in the letter, said his group’s joint venture with Dassault was to make components and systems primarily for the aerospace and defence sectors. “This joint venture with Dassault Aviation will lead to creation of thousands of jobs in India, imparting of valuable training and skill-sets to Indian engineers in aerospace Defence Manufacturing Sector, and will also provide large scale business opportunities to hundreds of MSMEs, SMEs and start-ups in the country, and will further enhance our experience and skills,” he wrote.

Also, Dassault would significantly contribute to high technology transfer and enhance overall defence manufacturing experience. Ambani said his father Dhirubhai built the world’s largest integrated petrochemicals and refinery complex in India without even having a formal education, much less any experience or legacy.

“In his words, ‘you have to be given an opportunity to perform. It’s not experience but the mindset, dedication, and the purpose, of a strong India that should engage us all’,” he wrote, adding that the facts he has brought out would be “helpful” to Gandhi. Similar letters also went to other senior Congress leaders, including the party’s communication department in-charge Randeep Surjewala.
In his letter, Ambani asserted that not only did his firm have the experience but “we are also the leaders in several important areas of defence manufacture”.

He said statements by Congress leaders have saddened him. “I fully appreciate that in the midst of the heat and dust of political campaigning, as in the recent context of elections in Gujarat, a lot has often been said.

“Nonetheless, considering that my entire family and I, starting with my respected father, have had the privilege of enjoying a very respectful relationship with the Gandhi family over generations as well as the Congress party for the past more than four decades, these statements have saddened and hurt our sentiments,” he said in the letter.