Rafale deal non-transparent: Congress

Congress on Saturday alleged non-transparency in the multi-crore Rafale deal and questioned the Centre's move to bypass defence procurement procedure in the absence of inter-governmental agreement with France.

Panaji: Congress on Saturday alleged non-transparency in the multi-crore Rafale deal and questioned the Centre's move to bypass defence procurement procedure in the absence of inter-governmental agreement with France.

"Prime Minister during his France visit announced government's decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault in fly-away condition. This decision is totally non-transparent," Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan told reporters in Goa.

"Till date, even the price of aircraft has not been disclosed by the Modi government. India does not have inter- governmental agreement with France for government-to- government purchases. In the absence of it, how can the established defence procurement procedure be bypassed?" he asked.

Vadakkan said there is no clarity either on pricing or on transfer of technology agreement.

"Modi government must clarify whether French government will give a sovereign guarantee," he said.

The Congress leader said bidding process undertaken during Congress-led government entailed that only eighteen Rafale aircraft would be purchased in fly-away condition.

"Remaining 108 aircraft would be manufactured under

Transfer of Technology Agreement by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. This would have ensured 'Make-in-India', creation of thousands of jobs and transfer of crucial cutting-edge technology," he added.

Congress also questioned why Modi bypassed the Defence Acquisition Council while announcing a unilateral aircraft deal.

"Neither the Prime Minister nor any other authority can affect unilateral purchase without prior approval from Defence Acquisition Council," he said.

Vadakkan also alleged that there were several ceasefire violations at the LoC after Narendra Modi took oath as Prime Minister.

"As admitted by Modi government, there have been 746 ceasefire violations along the LoC with Pakistan between June 2014-February 2015. Contrast this with 96 violations a year earlier," he said.

"In fact, BSF Director General went on record to say that ceasefire violations were highest since the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war," he claimed.

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