Saturday, July 21, 2018

Rafale deal controversy: French government’s statement, what is says, what it doesn’t

Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s statement in Lok Sabha, during the debate on no-confidence motion against Narendra Modi government, that there was no secrecy pact between India and France over deal for purchase of Rafale aircraft, was countered by French government within hours.
The statement issued by the French government affirmed that a secrecy pact exists between the two countries. The statement, however, only said the agreement “legally binds the two states to protect the classified information provided by the partner, that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment”.
However, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stretched the meaning of “classified information… that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment” to include the aircraft price.
Also lost in the noise was the aspect of shunting out public sector’s Hindustan Aeronautcis Limited, which has been making fighter aircraft for decades, and giving the contract to a private player with no background or experience in the field.
21/07/18 APN

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