New Delhi:12/1:(odiannews): Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday slammed those critical of India’s Rafale fighter jet deal with France’s Dassault Aviation, stating that the Narendra Modi government has gone ahead with it in the national interest. “We are in the government with national interest in mind, therefore we have gone ahead with the deal,” Sitharaman said.
Speaking on the Frankly Speaking on a TV show ,Defence Minister Sitharaman defended the Rafale deal and said the Supreme Court has looked at it and said all okay.
“The Supreme Court has gone through the case and looked at the three issues which the Congress party has been raising. These are the price, process and Indian offset partner. And the court has said all okay. It is an absolutely a political issue,” the Defence Minister said.
“We are in the government and we understand the urgency, with which, we have to empower Indian Air Force,” the minister said further.
The minister also responded to a question on the allegation of Anil Ambani Reliance Defence being allegedly favoured over state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited as offset partner in the Rafale contract.
“I don’t know who has chosen Reliance Defence, the Government of India has not chosen Reliance Defence (as offset partner). What I know is, instead of buying 18 jets in flyaway condition, we are buying double the number at 36,” she stated.Commenting on demand of Congress that PM Modi and not the Defence Minister should respond to its questions on the Rafale deal, the minister said it has become fashionable these days to tag everything to the Prime Minister.“I would like to respond to the Opposition leader in his capacity as Opposition leader and answer the questions. I choose to give facts and explain things,” she said during the interactive interview, where viewers also posed questions to her.
Speaking on the sexist remark made against her by Rahul Gandhi that the PM hides behind a woman in Parliament, Sitharaman said she was shocked by the comment of the Congress president.