Nothing Irregular In Rafale Deal: Defence Minister

RAJKOT: Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday countered Rahul Gandhi’s allegation of wrongdoing and said all necessary procedures were followed while finalising the Rafale aircraft deal.

“I am surprised that the opposition has raised the issue of national security during Gujarat elections,” the minister said while addressing journalists in Rajkot.

She claimed that the deal had been sealed according to the agreement between the two countries (India and France). The opposition was making false allegations that it was done in the absence of the defence minister.

“The defence ministers of both the countries have signed the deal. The technical statement was released in April 2015 and both the countries signed the deal in September 2016,” Sitharaman said. She denied allegations made by the Congress on the price of Rafale fighter planes and said “everything was as per terms and conditions.”

“India is ready to counter any infiltration from China or Pakistan,” she said that reduction in tension at Doklam was India’s big achievement.

Regarding the abduction of fishermen of Gujarat and south Indian states, Sitharaman said that the fishermen sometimes don’t know from where the international waters begin and that’s the reason they are captured by Pakistan or Sri Lankan forces.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also worried about this problem. We will soon bring some solution to this problem with the help of technology,” Sitharaman said.

TNN