Press Trust of india

Rafale pact is not a govt-to-govt deal: Congress

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New Delhi, Nov 14 :  The Congress claimed Wednesday the Rafale deal is not a “government-to-government” pact with France and the Centre should not have signed a contract with Dassault after it turned “non-compliant” by not giving assurances on aircraft quality and on man-hours required for the jet’s manufacturing.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal claimed the French government has never done a government-to-government contract on defence and such a deal has only been done in the United States under the Foreign Military Sales route (FMS).

“This is not a government-to-government contract,” he said, adding that there is no such procedure in France.

“In this case, the people who negotiated the deal were Dassault representatives along with (CEO) Eric Trappier himself and the Ministry of Defence and Air Force officials and the only thing that happened was that the Government of France gave a confirmation letter that negotiations were held with Dassault.

“How could it be a Government-to-Government contract?” he asked, alleging that officers who raised objections on the deal were transferred out and new officers were brought in.

The Congress leader said Dassault had refused to give an affidavit or undertaking on the number of man-hours required for manufacturing the aircraft, as HAL had claimed that 2.74 times man-hours would be used to manufacture the jet in India, as per a previous contract.

He also claimed that had Dassault given this undertaking, it would have become L-2 (second bidder in the list) in the deal.

Sibal said the government later on also sought assurances from Dassault to take full responsibility for product quality when manufacturing it in India, which it refused, thus rendering the company “non-complaint” twice.

“The Government of India cannot dal with a company which is non-compliant,” he said.

Sibal also said the prime minister is silent on the issue and compared his “monologues” with people as a vehicle moving in a one-way track.

He said the Congress party has taken a pledge to expose the corruption in the Rafale deal.

The former Union minister said Dassault CEO Trappier in his interview to the media has claimed he does not lie, as alleged by Rahul Gandhi, but the truth will come out.

He quoted Lord Budha to claim that “men may lie, but facts never”.

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