Rajat Sharma

Let us keep the Rafale deal above politics

aaj ki baat_frame_3099 (002)Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his party have been demanding details of the Rafale aircraft deal from the government for the last several months. The opposition party is planning to make this a big issue eight months before the Lok Sabha elections are due. Rahul Gandhi has been asking why the Modi government agreed to a price much higher than the price fixed by the previous UPA government.

On Wednesday, sections of media accessed a document prepared by the Defence Ministry and the Indian Air Force, which clearly shows that each Rafale aircraft being bought by the NDA government was Rs 59 crore cheaper than what the UPA government agreed to pay. After taking into account, the cost of aircraft, weapons, systems, simulators, maintenance, repair support and technical assistance, each Rafale aircraft bought by the present government would amount to Rs 1,646 crore compared to Rs 1,705 crore that could have been paid during the UPA regime.

The entire issue relates to national security. Secrecy is the essence of any defence deal, and the Congress party clearly knows that the government would abide by the secrecy clause of the agreement. It will not make the details of the deal public, as it would harm our national security.

To speak more about the finer points of the deal, as to the state-of-the-art systems that will be fitted to the aircraft, will amount to playing with national security. The sooner this controversy is put to rest, the better. There are many other issues for politicking and it would not be proper to politicize the Rafale deal. Let us keep national security above politics.

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