Head of Rafale negotiating team slams selective use of MoD note – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Air Marshal SBP Sinha, who headed the Rafale negotiations from the Indian side, has slammed the bid by an English daily to malign the procurement process.

“It was very surprising for me to know that in the article printed today a note within MoD has been used to malign this procurement by concealing facts, the remarks of the defence minister are not there,” SBP Sinha told news agency ANI.

Air Marshal SBP Sinha further said that the “Note had nothing to do with Indian team’s negotiation on Rafale procurement as it wasn’t initiated by the negotiating team.”

“The note was initiated by SK Sharma, who was not part of the Indian negotiation team. On whose behest he initiated this note?” he said.

The report in the English daily referred to the dissent note, but was silent on the response of former defence minister Manohar Parrikar to that note.

The then defence secretary G Mohan Kumar has also clarified that the dissent note had nothing to do with the pricing of the Rafale jets.

“It was about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions,” Kumar told ANI when asked if he remembered the context of the note.

“The context is there in the newspaper. Whatever has been brought out (in the newspaper), it has nothing to do with pricing. Negotiations are not just for pricing but other things also. It was about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions,” he said.

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Kumar, who was the defence secretary from 2015-17, spoke shortly after Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the PMO of running parallel negotiations and once again charged the government of securing Rafale deal at a higher price.

In Lok Sabha, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman dismissed the charges of Rahul Gandhi and said that the “Congress is flogging a dead horse”.

The BJP, meanwhile, described Rahul Gandhi’s allegations in the Rafale deal as “yet another lie from his lie-manufacturing factory” and accused the Congress president of working at the behest of foreign forces for the cancellation of the fighter aircraft deal.

(With inputs from ANI)

Head of Rafale negotiating team slams selective use of MoD note – Times of India

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