Slamming the Congress for "bickering over the price" now in a "disservice" to the armed forces, Sitharaman said she could "any time prove that the deal we obtained is far better than what they were negotiating.I am not shying away from giving the figures" and added the defence secretary would share the details later.
"Between 2004 and 2014, entire decade, the UPA could not arrive at a decision". Asked if it meant the price under the current government-to-government deal is lesser, she said "absolutely".
The Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman rubbished the Congress allegations about the Rafale purchase contract and insisted that it is an Inter governmental deal between India and France where due diligence and proper procedure was followed before it was signed in September a year ago. It was not financially prudent to negotiate ToT for just 36 fighters, she said.
Asked if French Defence Minister Florence Parly raised the issue of purchase of more Rafale fighter jets during her visit to India last month, Sitharaman replied in the affirmative.
He asked her whether PM Modi had taken permission from the Cabinet Committee on Security before announcing the purchase of the Rafale fighter aircraft in Paris.
Rahul also took pot shots at PM Modi over the Rafale deal on Twitter saying, "Can you explain "Reliance" on someone with nil experience in aerospace for Rafale deal?" Sitharaman alleged that inaction by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government resulted in a delay in the deal.
The Congress party had accsued Modi government of compromising national interest and security over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September, 2019.
Earlier Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa too said, "It is not overpricing..."