Rafale deal: Congress dares Swamy to go to court

New Delhi: Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Saturday dared Subramanian Swamy to go ahead to make a legal challenge to the Rafale deal after the BJP leader said he would approach the court as he claimed the fighter jet has shortcomings.

Experts, however, have said the government's decision to acquire 36 Rafale jets is to be welcomed.

"I dare Subramanian Swamy to go to court on Rafale Jet purchase," Singh tweeted.

Another Congress leader Amarinder Singh also slammed Swamy.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has welcomed the decision to purchase 36 Rafale jets, saying that India has not purchased any new generation aircraft in 17 years.

Swamy in a letter posted on Twitter said: "I urge the prime minister not to finalise the Rafael Aircraft Deal with France. The deal originally was negotiated by the previous UPA government."

"Rafael is a less fuel efficient aircraft and lacking in essential performance characteristics because of which no country in the world has agreed to buy these aircraft."

"Some countries have cancelled contracts after signing an MoU with Dasault, the manufacturers, after carrying out a trial of the plane, for example, Switzerland."

"The Rafael performance of Libya and Egypt turned out to be worst of all the aircraft which were deployed by the allies liberating the countries from tyranny."

"If the prime minister for some other compulsion anyway decides to go ahead with the deal, then I will have no option but to approach the court in an PIL to get it set aside," he said.

Strategic expert Uday Bhaskar supported the decision to purchase 36 Rafale jets in fly away condition announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with French President Francois Hollande on Friday.

Bhaskar told IANS: "The decision to acquire 36 Rafale fighter aircraft is to be welcomed for it will redress a serious operational deficiency as far as the Indian Air Force is concerned."

"This is an innovative and expedient option, given the procedural complexity and time lines that are associated with the larger MMRCA deal."

"Hopefully the current Rafale deal will allow India to review its long term strategic and defence cooperation agreements with major suppliers such as France."

Digvijay Singh also tweeted: "Modi buys 36 Ready to Fly Rafale Jets from France off the shelf. Is this the new Defence Purchase Policy of GOI? Would CAG/CVC please take notice."

"When PM was buying Fighter Aircrafts in France our Defence Min was buying Fish in Goa! Minimum Govt and Max Governance."

"When PM is signing deals Abroad Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is propagating Modi's future achievements in Vidisha MP," he tweeted.

Amarinder Singh, who is party's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, asked Swamy to stop speaking about the Rafale deal.

"This (Swamy's) statement is obviously for settling scores with the prime minister for not being taken into the cabinet," he said, adding the move was crucial for strengthening the Indian Air Force.

"The Chinese air force has a 3:1 superiority over us," he said and added that the IAF had less than its minimum requirement of 45 squadrons.

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