Defence Ministry had not objected to pricing part in Rafale deal, says former defence secretary

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 08, 2019 14:52 hrs
Rafale Fighter Jet (AP photo)

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry had not objected to involvement of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) over sovereign guarantee aspect of the negotiations in the Rafale fighter deal, the then Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar said on Friday, clarifying that the dissent note had nothing to do with pricing issue.

“It was about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions," Kumar told ANI when asked if he remembered the context of the note.

"The context is there in the newspaper. Whatever has been brought out (in the newspaper), it has nothing to do with pricing. Negotiations are not just for pricing but other things also. It was about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions,” he elaborated.

Kumar, who was the Defence Secretary from 2015 to 2017, spoke shortly after Congress President Rahul Gandhi cited the media report to contend that the PMO and the Defence Ministry were not on the same page on Rafale negotiations.

Gandhi has been alleging that the pricing of the fighter plane, under the deal for procuring 36 aircraft from French company Dassault, was changed at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi as well as Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have rubbished the allegations and accused Gandhi of trying to mislead the nation.