Hyderabad: Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has compromised the safety and security of the country by cutting down the number of Rafale fighter jets it is buying, from 123 to 36.
“We still need 90 fighter jets as per the requirement in 2007, as said by the Defence Acquisition Council. But Mr Modi has cancelled the deal done by the UPA government and purchased the same fighters at Rs 1670 crore each, where we had ordered them for Rs 523 crore each,” he said.
Speaking to media persons at Gandhi Bhavan in Hyderabad on Wednesday, Mr Azad said, “We are tired of fighting on the Rafale scam. The prime minister sits in Parliament but never responds to questions we put on the scam. So the Congress party has decided to take the issue to the public and I am in Hyderabad for that.”
He said China is becoming aggressive and Pakistan is now seen as active, while India is now turning out to be weak on security issues. “We had made the Rafale deal at a low cost and the deal was to buy 18 fighter jets from the French company directly and the remaining 108 were to be manufactured in India, so that the technology will be transferred to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). If the technology is transferred then we will have the capacity to produce our own fighter jets with the latest technologies. However, the Prime Minister, who gives a call of ‘Make in India’ has decided to strike off the deal done by the Congress-led UPA,” Mr Azad said.
He said that the decision to purchase 126 fighter jets was not the decision of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; it was the decision taken by the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by the Defence Minister, and whose members are Chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and DRDO etc. “But Mr Modi has cancelled the deal and ordered only 36 fighter jets, where the defence minister or the foreign minister doesn’t know about the deal.”
He said that HAL, which was in profits during the tenure of the Congress administration, is now borrowing money. “HAL, which produced 4060 aircraft of 30 types in 75 years, is now in losses.”