Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday that the incumbent NDA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi got the Rafale fighter jets at a cheaper rate than the previous UPA dispensation.
Speaking to reporters in the national capital, Sitharaman compared the price of the Rafale Jets between the two governments. She said, "We have responded saying your basic price and the basic price that I am getting at, when compared with all the escalation and other things, is 9 per cent cheaper."
Congress' AK Antony had previously commented that if the deal was indeed so cheaper, why the government (NDA) did not procured 126 aircrafts.
Antony cited claims put forth by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (who had claimed that the deal was nine per cent cheaper), finance minister Arun Jaitley (claimed 20 per cent cheaper), and an IAF officer (claimed it is 40 per cent cheaper) to comment, "Why did they not buy 126 if it was cheaper?"
Negotiations with French firm Dassault Aviation had begun in 2012 with the UPA government claiming the deal was to buy 126 Medium multi-role combat Aircraft (MMRCA). The plan was for Dassault Aviation to supply 18 Rafale jets in fly-away condition while 108 aircraft were to be manufactured in India by the company along with HAL.