Speaking in Lok Sabha on Thursday, PM Modi had used the Rafale row to accuse the Congress of weakening the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Minutes after Congress president Rahul Gandhi cited a dissent note by Defence Ministry on Rafale deal to claim wrongdoing by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, retired IAS officer G Mohan Kumar who served as the Defence Secretary between 2015 and 2017 issued a statement saying that the note signed by him has nothing to do with the pricing part of the deal that was signed between India and France during Modi’s visit in 2016.
“It (MoD dissent note on Rafale negotiations) had nothing to do with price. It was about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions,” the former Defence Secretary told news agency ANI.
“Whatever has been brought out (recent media report on Rafale by the Hindu) has nothing to do with pricing,” he added.
The clarification comes after Rahul addressed the media in New Delhi alleging PM Modi was directly involved in Rafale scam. Rahul referred to a dissent note written by Defence Secretary, accessed by The Hindu, raising objections to parallel negotiations conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with France on the deal.
The report by The Hindu, citing documents, says that the Defence Ministry said the position taken by the PMO was “contradictory to the stand taken by MoD and the negotiating team.” The report further claims that then Defence Secretary Kumar made an official notation in his own hand: “RM may pl. see. It is desirable that such discussions be avoided by the PMO as it undermines our negotiating position seriously.”
Speaking in Lok Sabha on Thursday, PM Modi had used the Rafale row to accuse the Congress of weakening the Indian Air Force (IAF). He said that while BJP government has taken decisions to strengthen the defence forces, the Congress doesn’t want to make armed forces strong.