Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa on Thursday defended the central government over the Rafale aircraft deal, saying the government had negotiated a better deal on Rafale jets than the previous one. “There is no controversy. What is the controversy, I don’t understand. It is not overpriced. The government has negotiated a very good deal. We have negotiated a better deal than we did with Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). In fact, the price of 36 aircraft is lower than in the MMRCA contract as we are getting 50 per cent off-set and service facility, and I think the government has negotiated a very good deal.”
The IAF chief’s statement came after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal, alleging it was changed to benefit a corporate house. When asked about reports that the Rafale aircraft were now being purchased at “three times” the price, up from Rs 520 crore to Rs 1,570 crore, he said that he did not have the figures but the price is definitely not more.
The Air Chief Marshal was speaking to the media following the President Standard Presentation (PSP) to the two units of Indian Air Force — 223 Squadron and 117 Helicopter Unit — for history of excellence at Air Force Station, Adampur.
Asked about “transfer of technology” reportedly being halted under the new deal, he said earlier “we were purchasing one squadron and were to manufacture others here, but now we have purchased two squadrons under ‘fly-away’ condition”.