A combative defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman today accused the previous Congress government of ignoring the public sector aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited during its tenure.
Nirmala also rejected the allegation of Congress President Rahul Gandhi that NDA government excluded HAL from the agreement.
She said there was never an agreement between HAL and Dassault Aviation during the previous UPA government in the original MMRCA contract as the French firm has refused to take guarantee of the Rafale jets manufactured by HAL.
“There is no question of excluding HAL from the MMRCA. HAL was not part of the agreement even during the tenure of UPA,” the defence minister told the Lok Sabha.
Nirmala accused Congress leadership of shedding ‘crocodile tears’ for HAL instead of building the company during its tenure.
Quoting from the reports of parliamentary standing committee of defence, Nirmala Sitharaman said the previous government was aware that HAL was in trouble but they did not do anything to build up the capacity of the state-owned aircraft manufacturer.
UPA placed order for 43 Tejas light combat aircraft with HAL. And it was able to deliver only 8 aircraft. They never bothered to find out the problems faced by HAL. They (UPA government) never asked HAL how they can help the company if it was facing problems, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha.
Nirmala said that contrary to the policy of UPA government, NDA government has awarded the contract worth Rs. one lakh crore to HAL, including the order to manufacture 83 LCA Tejas combat aircraft, 15 commercial aircraft, 19 Dornier aircraft, 200 Kamov helicopters, other helicopters worth Rs. 15,000 crore and aero-engines.