Bhopal: As the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections inch closer, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad once again launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre and his 'Make in India' initiative, claiming that the Rafale deal inked under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) tenure was "the mother of all Make in India initiatives".
Azad said, "The provision of buying 18 aircraft from France and manufacturing the remaining ones in India was the mother of all Make in India initiatives."
"Biggest initiative for Make in India was done by the UPA government. The contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) could have generated jobs for 24,000-25,000 engineers," he added.
The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister asserted that procuring the 36 ready-to-fly Rafale jets from France under the new deal by the Modi Government was a joke on the Make in India initiative.
Azad said that if 108 jets were made in the country, by the state-run aerospace and defence company HAL as was proposed by the UPA, the country would have never required to depend on others.
In 2012, during the UPA tenure, India had planned to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets from France, with 108 others to be assembled in the country by HAL.
The BJP-led government scrapped the UPA's plan in 2015 and announced that it would buy 36 "ready-to-fly" Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation.
The Rafale jet deal controversy has been on the boil over the last few months. The Congress and other opposition parties have been alleging irregularities in the high-profile deal.