Rahul Gandhi meets French President Emmanuel Macron, Rafale deal not discussed

The Congress has been attacking the BJP government on the defence deal, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of causing loss to the state exchequer by buying the fighter jets at inflated rate.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: March 12, 2018 9:06 pm
Rahul Gandhi meets French President Emmanuel Macron, Rafale deal not discussed French President Emmanuel Macron (R), Congress president Rahul Gandhi (C), and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pose for a photograph ahead of a meeting at the French embassy in New Delhi. (Reuters)

Congress President Rahul Gandhi met French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday and discussed with him issues that affect liberal democracies including fake news. Gandhi was accompanied by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, when he met with the visiting French president. The Congress chief, however, did not raise the Rafale fighter jet deal with Macron, party sources said.

The Congress has been attacking the BJP government on the defence deal, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of causing loss to the state exchequer by buying the fighter jets at inflated rate. “Yesterday, I met with French President @EmmanuelMacron. We discussed a range of issues common to our liberal democracies, including fake news. I look forward to building on this meeting and to collaborating with him on global challenges such as Climate Change,” Gandhi tweeted today, posting a picture with Singh and Macron.

Asked about the meeting and why Gandhi did not raise the Rafale deal issue, Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala said the party presidents always meet visiting heads of state. The Congress has a history of maintaining a relationship with visiting heads of state in national interest. “As far as the Rafale deal is concerned, it has six serious flaws which go to the root of the matter and is pointing towards a brewing scam in procurement of aircraft and compromise on national security,” he alleged.

The Congress leader said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman refused to disclose the price for the fighter jets citing threat to national security, but Dassault Aviation in its Annual Report of 2016 as also of 2017 says that they sold 36 Rafale aircraft for 7.5 Billion USD or Rs 1,670 crore per aircraft.

The same aircraft was sold to Egypt and Qatar 11 months at Rs 1,319 crore per aircraft and there is a clear cut loss of Rs 12,632 crore to the state exchequer, he said.

The Rafale deal signed after an international bidding was opened finally on December 12, 2012 and the UPA price as per information in public domain was about Rs 526 crore. “The simple question that 132 crore people want to know is why did you buy Rs 526 crore aircraft for Rs 1,670 crore – over 300 pc extra. The loss to exchequer if calculated notionally would be Rs 41,000 crore. Why did the prime minister bypass the Defence Procurement Procedure which looks at price discovery through contract negotiation committee and price negotiation committee and nobody in this country can violate that principle,” he asked.

Surjewala also asked why the prime minister did not take prior approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security. “Why did the prime minister deny to India transfer of technology for manufacture of twin engine Rafale fighter aircraft and the Defence Minister lie to the nation on February 7, 2018 when she issued a Press Release and a statement saying that as far as Rafale aircraft is concerned, no off-set partner has been chosen by the vendor, Dassault Aviation,” he said.

Surjewala said, “If the Defence Minister is going to lie to the nation through her teeth, if the prime minister is going to dupe and mislead, if the PM is going to violate the Defence Procurement Procedure and CCS, if the PM is going to supersede the PSU HAL in favour of a private company, then who is going to defend India’s interests?. We need 45 air squadrons, we only have 32 air squadrons, by the time these aircraft come we will have 23 air squadrons only. How will we take on the might of our neighbours who can possibly any time challenge our borders as also our air space? These are questions to which the PM and the defence minister have adopted a complete ‘Maun-Vrat’. I dare them to answer these in public.”

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  1. Lame Karma
    Mar 12, 2018 at 10:57 pm
    Also here is a lesson for RaGa and NaMo. look at how Su30-MKI deal was done between 3 diffe government without any evidence of graft ( atleast not to the public). It as simple as asking RaGa and Kapil Sibbal to come down and see the deal with all the details on the promise that it will not be leaked. You have to understand France has its own political agenda and deals like this are used their in their own national politics. NaMo needs to throw his ego aside for this instance. RaGa needs to grow up and look at the big picture. because of AK Antony's fear he scrapped the deal and Air force is suffering. When you are in dire need you get charged more. Look at deal. Take a good finance guy like ManMohan Sing ( not chiddhi because his son is effed up ) In this whole affair, defense forces are looking bad and IAF is looking bad.
    1. Lame Karma
      Mar 12, 2018 at 10:52 pm
      Think abt Rafael deal as follow. You go to builder to a shop. You get an initial quote of 75 lakhs. You have no idea what is provided except for like a normal shop with all the working amenities. Now you negotiate another shop, the builder is willing to give you a the front facing of the main street, special parking in the ground floor for you and upto 10 customers, electricity and all the amenities included for 10 years, interior decoration including furniture, light, bathroom est cost included to your liking, special entrance for your customers directly from the parking spot. Also included are bijli, paani. Any future modification to the shop will also be paid by builder plus any special pricing on future expansion of your business with next shop being reserved for you for next 2 years. Cost is 4 corrors Which one will you chose? It depends on your condition. Back in 2007 situation was not so dire for IAF. now we lost 10 years with no aircraft dded. Now we need it.
      1. Lame Karma
        Mar 12, 2018 at 10:38 pm
        Lol. Did anyone catch the irony in statement of Surjewalla? "We need 45 air squadrons, we only have 32 air squadrons, by the time these aircraft come we will have 23 air squadrons only.". yes sir then why are you questioning the need for direct sourcing of 36 fly away aircraft? Also why not directly ask French president and ask him to be more vigilant and make sure France is not party to "massive" corruption? Answer is simple. Congress is "bofors" shy. they should have executed the deal in 2012 but could not. When the tender was invited in 2007 the cost of aircraft was based on Euro values of INR 58 avg. Now the same Euro in 2016 was 70 avg. Youa re looking at 20 raise right of the bat and then there is no clarity on what the tender was included in UPA regime. UPA can produce those docs and then we can compare. Factor in in ion as well in the cost and then support, training, technology transfer.
        1. Apoorva Bhardwaj
          Mar 12, 2018 at 9:46 pm
          Why did Mauni Baba accompany rOwl..? Because Mummy was worried, he could demand French Toast and French fries from Macron...and there should be someone to stop him..