The Indo-French government-to-government deal for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighters is not done yet, the government is negotiating to reduce the price and ‘save a lot of money’, Indian defense minister said Friday.
Indian Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar said in the Lower House during the calling attention motion over the controversial AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal said, “"We will reduce the deal value and we will save a lot. We will show them that we carved out a better deal that what the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was getting that time".
Parrikar accused Congress had spread the word that the Rafale deal was signed for USD 9 billion, which got widely reported. "In such a situation, even other people also get carried with such false information," Mr Parrikar said.
The BJP had last month tweeted a graphic, saying that the Rafale combat aircraft deal has been "finalised" and the Narendra Modi government had saved over INR 21,000 crore (US $3.1 billion) in the "re-negotiation" with the French government.
The Defence Minister had later clarified that it is not complete as yet but at an "advanced stage" and the intention is to "close it quite soon".
Parrikar was responding to Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia who said that the previous UPA government was doing the Rafale deal for USD 10 billion.
"Jyotiraditya Scindia took total liberties with the truth by saying that they were doing Rafale deal worth USD 10 billion. First Rafale deal did not happen, their defence minister (A K Anthony) had written it. He was scared that his image would be tarnished...," Mr Parikkar said.
Arguing that Antony had left it to others to finalise the deal, he said, "He (Antony) had written that L-1 determination is done and now negotiate price. After finalising it, bring it back to me to check up if the company is L-1. I have never in my lifetime seen such a comment".
"They would have had the experience from Agusta deal and that is why they had wrote it on top of Rafale deal (file)," he said.