‘Over-reaction’: Manohar Parrikar reply to MoD dissent note on Rafale
New Delhi, Feb 09: Former defence minister Manohar Parrikar had in a note termed his own ministry's apprehension to the Prime Minister's Office intervening in Rafale negotiation as an "over-reaction."
The paper had cited an internal note of the ministry, which said "parallel discussions by the PMO has weakened the negotiating positions by the MoD and the negotiating team".
"We may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of the Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays with the officers of the French Government," the note read.
News agency ANI published the complete note which included then defence minister Manohar Parrikar's noting asking his to remain calm and that there was nothing to worry.
The concerns expressed in paragraph 5 of the note of then defence secretary, G Mohan Kumar, "appears to be an over-reaction", Parikkar wrote, adding "Defence Secretary may resolve the matter in consultation with Principal Secretary to PM".
Referring to the report, which claimed that the then Defence Secretary had objected to the PMO allegedly conducting price negotiations with the French company, Sitharaman said the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had replied to the letter asking the official to remain "calm" as everything was "alright".
As the Congress claimed the note supports its contention about the interference of the PM's Office in the deal, Sitharaman called it "slanderous" and "irresponsible".
National Conference chief Omar Abdullah pointed out that Parrikar's choice of words implied "imperfect knowledge" about the PMO's exchanges with the French government.
"The then Defence Minister @manoharparrikar was clueless about the progress of negotiations. All he could say was ''IT APPEARS that @PMOIndia & French President''s office are monitoring the progress''. He had no direct knowledge of progress & passed the buck back to the PMO," Abdullah tweeted.
"How can he claim that "para 5 is an over-reaction" when he had no direct knowledge of the status or content of the negotiations? His act of passing the matter for the Def Sec to resolve with PMO clearly shows he had no grounds on which to base his "over-reaction" assessment?" the NC leader said in another tweet.