Rafale Jet deal: Defence Ministry Objected parallel negotiations by the PM Office
The Defence Ministry raised strong objections to “parallel negotiations” conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with France over the controversial €7.87 billion Rafale Jet deal, according to a 2015 note accessed by The Hindu. A Defence Ministry note dated November 24, 2015 states that it was clear that such parallel discussions by the PMO had “weakened the negotiating position of MoD and Indian Negotiating Team.”
The new revelation provides fresh ammo to the opposition Congress which has unabatedly attacked the government, accusing PM Narendra Modi of signing an overpriced deal for 36 Rafale jets to help industrialist Anil Ambani.
Stating that “we may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays [parleys] with the officers of the French Government,” it suggested that “in case the PMO is not confident about the outcome of negotiations being carried out by the MoD, a revised modality of negotiations to be led by PMO at the appropriate level may be adopted in the case.”
“Congress President @RahulGandhi had a simple question for you in Parliament Modiji, you chickened out and didn’t answer, did the defence ministry oppose your Rafale deal? Looks like we have the answer now… ,” the Congress tweeted today, citing The Hindu report.
The Rafale deal was announced in 2016 after PM Modi’s talks in Paris with then French president Francois Hollande.