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Watch: Rafale deal to not be cancelled: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to ANI

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today told the news agency ANI that irrespective of the allegations, Rafale deal will fall through and it will not be cancelled.

In this interview, Jaitley says, some statements are given with an intention to create controversy. But some statements are such that situation and circumstances prove them wrong and such statements have no credibility. “French government has said that our former president is not giving a true statement. Dassault had decided who would be the offset manufacturing partner. Dassault said they decided the partners and Indian government has nothing to do with our decision. Their own government and their own company has refuted the claims of former president,” Jaitley said.

Elaborating on the why this speculations could have risen, Jaitley said, “Everyone knows Reliance split into two. One Reliance (led by Mukesh Ambani) was that which in 2012, when there was a possibility of a contract of 126 aircrafts, signed a contract for Rafale with the same Dassault. Was that also corruption? Were Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi favouring Reliance? Secondly, that Reliance (after split) did not get into defence equipment, the other Reliance (led by Anil Ambani) did. So it is natural that if in 2014 a new deal is signed, all defence manufacturing companies involved in offset manufacturing bid for the same. So if a private Indian company gets into this offset manufacturing contract, what is the problem? Indian government has not put forward anyone’s name. Dassault has also asserted that all the companies in the contract are chosen by them.”

On former French President Hollande’s claims, he said, “On first day, Hollande said that the French government had no role to play, the name (selecting Reliance as offset manufacturing partner) came from India. If it is true, it is a serious accusation. Second day, in Montreal, AFP asked him were you aware that the recommendation of Reliance came from Indian government. To that Hollande responded by saying he is not aware and directed to question Dassault. Then he said ‘the partners chose themselves’. So what is he even trying to say? It is notable that he issued his first statement in the background of allegations of conflict of interest being by the media in France. So he said it while defending himself. So in light of all this, should we halt the preparedness of the armed forces?”

On Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that the ‘chowkidar of India is a chor’, Jaitley said, “Public discourse is not a laughter challenge. One day you go and hug someone, then you wink at someone, then you keep issuing wrong statements. In a democracy, there are allegations and counter allegations. But your words should also make sense. Bringing down the public discourse does not suit the world’s largest democracy.”

On 31th August, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, “This #Rafale aircraft really does fly far and fast! It’s also going to drop some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks.”

Hollande’s statement came just few days after the above tweet. Jaitley questioned how did Rahul Gandhi know that there is trouble brewing in France? One day Hollande makes a statement, next day he retreats, but Rahul Gandhi predicts it 20 days in advance. This raises questions.

Yesterday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had held a press conference and even tweeted that Rafale is a Rs. 1,30,000 crore scam.

“What is the scam? Indian Air Force will get 36 jets which have weaponised capacity,” said Jaitley. Recounting the Kargil War, he said, “During Kargil War, when enemy was on the mountain, and we were using Bofors 155 mm guns on them, it took us 3 months to bring down 500-600 Pakistani soldiers. If we had Rafale which could hit the target from a distance of 100-150 kms away, then it would have been a two day operation. Hence, it is not a scam but a requirement of the Indian Air Force and the money we are investing will strengthen Indian Air Force. These are the aircraft which China already has and Pakistan has started manufacturing. And the same aircraft which on which Congress sat for 10 years and delayed procurement.

Concluding the interview, he said, “The Rafale deal is a government to government deal and is very important for the country. These jets are coming to India… They are required for Indian defence. They will enhance the combat ability of the Indian Air Force.”

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