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How to counter Opposition attack on Rafale? NSA Ajit Doval briefs Modi cabinet


New Delhi, Sep 5: With the government under attack from the Opposition on the Rafale issue, the top security brass briefed the Union Council of Ministers on Wednesday on the fighter aircraft deal with France, saying that its cost is based on equipment and weapons that will be integrated into the jet.

NSA Ajit Doval

The presentation was made in a bid to provide the leaders with facts to counter the allegations of favouritism and corruption being levelled against the government.

A senior official said National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Secretary, Defence Production, Ajay Kumar highlighted various aspects of the deal in the meeting, which lasted more than two-and-a-half hours.

The ministers were informed that it was a deal between two governments involving no private party, leaving little scope for corruption. The security brass also highlighted the aircraft's capability which would strengthen the Indian Air Force and make the fighter jets an asset for it.

Opposition parties led by the Congress have been attacking the Modi government over the deal, alleging that it was struck at an exorbitant price and benefited an Indian businessman at the cost of the government-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The charges have been denied by the government.

The presentation in the meeting also underscored Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to take all his allies, who are represented in the council of ministers, on board, as the government works to counter the opposition on the issue in the run up to the Lok Sabha election which are less than eight months away.

The presentation was made before the ministers and BJP leaders, who will reach out to the people all across the country on the achievements of the government under a week long campaign. Separate presentations were also made on the government's ambitious 'Ayushman Bharat' mission, a health insurance cover for the poor, and 'Swachh Bharat' (clean India) project.



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