Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman clarifies the government's position on the Rafale deal.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today resorted to a point-by-point rebuttal of the Rafale deal in Lok Sabha countering the accusations of Congress. She accused the Congress of scrapping an earlier deal when it was in power because it "didn't get the money" and ignored social security in favour of its "treasury security".
The Congress accused that the BJP-led government scrapped a deal for 126 aircraft negotiated by the previous UPA government to go for an overpriced deal for 36 aircraft only to help Anil Ambani, whose inexperienced defence company bagged an offset contract with Dassault. Ms Sitharaman said the assumption that the Rafale fighters were available off the shelf was "mistaken", referring to the 126 aircraft deal. Eighteen of those jets were to be delivered in fly-away condition. She also that "Bofors was a scam, Rafale is not. It will bring PM Modi back to power."
Here are the LIVE Updates from the Parliament:
"No right to call PM Chor": Nirmala Sitharaman
- They said Raksha Mantri jhoot bol rahi hai, Pradhan Mantri chor hai. I come from a middle class family, I come with my honour intact, I have , PM comes from a economically backward family.. and you call him chor?
- You don't have the right to call PM chor, and me jhoothi
- We all come from normal backgrounds, we had to fight our way here, we have our honour intact
- You hug the Prime Minister, and you go wink, is that not insulting the PM?
- All of us feel very honoured to be here, eminent people have been here Nehru, Patel. And our reputations are available to you?
Continuing with her reply, Nirmala Sitharaman says:
- The signed contract with AgustaWestland was signed in 2010, not during AB Vajpayee's time. A pre-contract integrity pact too was signed in 2008
- They were getting 18 in fly-away condition, we are getting 36 - these were never to be built by HAL.
- In our case, for the rest, we will have a company build the other planes - that could be HAL or DRDO or them together - in India under Make in India
- The offset contract under Rafale agreement is government by policy framed by UPA
- The government does not go put it in the contract at all who the offset partner should be
- I can't state which company is fulfilling the offset obligations, till they come and claim the credit
Rahul Gandhi speaks in Parliament. In his reply to Defence Minister he says:
- I make mistakes I am not like his Royal Highness who does not make mistakes. I had remarked how come deal using Indians money wasn't being revealed to Indians.
- President Macron answered price is not part of the secret pact and you are welcome to say this publicly. In a separate conversation - Mr Hollande - I do not know how to pronounce his name, Modi ji and Jaitley ji can correct me - said Anil Ambani's name was suggested by India
- Madam, I am not accusing you or Manohar Parrikar - I am accusing Narendra Modi. Other than trying to defend a lie, I have no proof that you did anything wrong
- In his annual report, Anil Ambani wrote about largest offset contract but you did not mention his name. You did not explain who suggested his name, how he got the contract snatched away from HAL
- In the old deal, it wasn't just a bare aircraft
- If neighborhood is dangerous, why did you not buy 126 aircraft?
- When this bypass surgery was done by PM Modi, did Defence Ministry officials object to it? Can you answer this question with a yes or a no.
"Bofors A Scam. Rafale Will Bring PM Modi Back", Says Nirmala Sitharaman
- "Bofors was a scam, Rafale is not. Rafale will bring PM Modi back to power," Nirmala Sitharaman says in Parliament
- This govt has run 4 years without corruption, somewhere there is a desperation to throw something at them, throw mud. Private conversations are being used to defame the PM of this country
- You quote the President without proof, and say he called PM a thief. Shows us the proof.
- Above all Defence Ministry has run 5 years without dalals under Modi ji
She says, "National security considerations must be kept in mind.I have given point-by-point detail about pricing of basic aircraft."
Nirmala Sitharaman detailed how their Rafale deal was better than Congress:
- Their basic aircraft would have cost 737 crore. Our basic price is 670 crore. It is at least 9% lesser
- Delivery time has been reduced by 5 months for 36 aircraft
- Logistics support for 2 squadrons instead of one
- This support is without any additional cost
- Terms that we have got are far better on every count than their non-deal
- On Interference of PMO? It is normal for PMO to monitor such processes.They had an entire kitchen cabinet NAC interfering in the PMO.
- On comparison with other countries - Qatar, Egypt were only to mislead the country. Even during their time there was no deal between Dassault and HAL.
She also says, "Despite what Supreme Court said, we have opposition parties saying we misled the court - this is unfair. We did not wait for Congress, we went ourselves to the SC to request a correction."
Nirmala Sitharaman reading from judgment, paragraph 25 says, "The material placed before us shows that govt has not disclosed pricing details other than than basic aircraft. Revealing the pricing details could hurt national security, and contract between two countries."
"No bank guarantee was provided or is being provided for any foreign military sales contracts signed between India and US. No bank guarantee was provided during a deal with Russia when Mulayam Singh was Defence Minister," says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
"Did they (opposition) sit down with the defence minister to find out pricing of the aircraft? Rs 670 crore has already been disclosed in the Parliament as the basic price. There is no record of the Rs 526 crore they quote," defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman says.
"Comparing the price of a basic aircraft with a weaponized aircraft is like comparing apples and oranges," she adds.
"Are they (opposition) so irresponsible that they go to Pakistan for help? A Congress leader (without naming him/her) went to Pakistan and asked them for help in removing the BJP/PM Modi government from power in India," says defence minister.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha on Rafale deal:
"This entire campaign has been on falsehoods and irresponsible allegations. I will ask a few questions now."
"We were told by Congress spokesperson that we shall not be talking on Rafale, because its an internal matter. On March 9, before Rahul Gandhi met French President Macron, Congress spokesperson told the media: Congress will not discuss India's defence deals with a foreign head of state. This is internal matter. This discussion the government has to do with France, not us."
"However, On July 20 in the Parliament, Rahul Gandhi says: 'I asked the french President about the secrecy pact but he denied the existence of such a pact. He said he has no issues in making the cost public.' Who is truthful here? The Congress spokesperson or Rahul Gandhi?"
The Congress is building the whole thing on falsehoods, she adds.
"When Rahul Gandhi held a meeting near HAL Bengaluru, he said 'Rafale is your right. You should have produced it.' "Congress is only shedding crocodile tears on the HAL not getting the offset contract as it did nothing to scale up the capacity of the state-run firm. The BJP-led NDA government gave Rs 1 lakh crore worth of contracts to HAL," says defence minister in Lok Sabha.
The minister says, "You stopped the deal, forgetting Air Force was suffering. You didn't conclude the deal, because it didn't suit you. The deal didn't get you money."
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha on Rafale deal:
"The Congress did not intend buying the jets . For every 'AA' there is a 'Q' and 'RV'."
"There was no agreement between Dassault and HAL. Dassault was told that HAL will need 2.7 more man hours for the same Rafale jet than to produce one in France. Dassault also told they will not stand guarantee for the jets produced in India. Therefore, the deal with HAL was not struck."
"HAL capacity has been increased from eight to 16 aircraft per year."
"You (opposition) are misleading the country. We are getting 36 aircraft (two squadrons) in fly away condition as compared to your 18."
Defence Minister in Lok Sabha says: "The first aircraft will be delivered in September 2019 and 36 aircraft will be delivered in the year 2022. The process of negotiation was finished in 14 months."
"There is a difference between defence dealings and dealing in defence. We deal in defence with national security as a priority," she adds.
"China and Pakistan are building a bigger fleet. The UPA government wanted only 18 flyaway fighter jets. The UPA created a deadlock," says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha on Rafale deal.
"Senior members of the Opposition don't want to hear my answers. It is very disheartening. This country needs to know that defence purchases are national security related," says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha on Rafale deal.
"This country will have to understand that national security is important, whether they (opposition) are in power or we are (BJP). We cannot run away from facts," says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha on Rafale deal.
"The environment around India is very volatile. It is important for us to understand that whosoever is in power, will want peace. But it cannot be at the cost of making our armed forces feel that they are not being given enough to fight," she adds.
"Timely getting the equipment should be the priority. Our two borders are always highly sensitive and it is important to timely purchase the ammunition. We have had wars in northern and western frontiers. We have to recognise the sense of urgency."
The suspension of 45 Lok Sabha members belonging to AIADMK and the TDP is likely to be revoked if they assure Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that they will not create pandemonium.
Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, of AIADMK, urged the Speaker to revoke the suspension of all the 45 members of his party and the TDP. "You have all the rights if members violate the rules. You have already punished them. I would humbly request you to kindly allow them to take part in the proceedings from Monday onwards. Kindly revoke their suspension," he said.
BJP legislator Anurag Thakur cites National Herald case and Agusta Westland case after Congress asks the ruling party to answer on Rafale deal issues.
Journalist Smita Prakash interviewed PM Modi for more than hour and she was criticised by a politician (Congress president Rahul Gandhi), says BJP leader Anurag Singh Thakur.
"Maybe this politician has never heard a woman ask such questions. They must have expected her to ask PM Modi about what he ate and how are his relations with his mother. But PM Modi was asked all important questions and he gave all the answers," he adds.
"He (Rahul Gandhi) was so confused (during a press conference), that he spoke for 20 minutes and told 20 lies."
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge says Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come in the parliament and clarify on the issue of Rafale fighter jet deal.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, during a debate on Rafale fighter jet deal in Lok Sabha, says: "The affidavit submitted by the Centre before the Supreme Court is wrong. Centre misguided the court and the public. This is the reason we are demanding a joint parliamentary committee."
Female lawmakers in Rajya Sabha, cutting across party lines, ask the BJP-led government to use its brute majority in Lok Sabha to ensure passage of a legislation providing 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and state legislatures.
The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, commonly known as the Women's Reservation Bill, was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010, but is awaiting nod of Lok Sabha.
BJP lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi, in the Lok Sabha, says the Kerala government is not maintaining law and order in the state and transporting women in ambulances to Sabarimala.
On Sabarimala Temple issue in Lok Sabha, Congress legislator KC Venugopal tells news agency ANI: "We want peace in the state. We want a solution. Otherwise, the govt is promoting violence in the state."
Congress lawmakers protest in Parliament premises, selling potatoes to raise issues concerning Punjab farmers.
The Companies (Amendment) Bill, the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill and the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill will be among the topics to be discussed in the Lok Sabha today.
Other bills include the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, the National Medical Commission Bill and the Dentists (Amendment) Bill.