Rafale deal: Defence Ministry’s dissent note had nothing to do with pricing, clarifies ex-secy
New Delhi, Feb 08: Soon after Congress President Rahul Gandhi claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ran parallel negotiations with French govt in the Rafale deal, a former defence secretary clarified saying that whatever has been brought out in the media report on Rafale deal by the Hindu has nothing to do with pricing of the deal.
''It (the dissent note from MoD on Rafale negotiations) had nothing to do with price. It was about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions,'' G Mohan Kumar, Defence Secretary at the time of Rafale negotiations was quoted as saying by ANI.
The clarification from the senior Defence Ministry official came following the reports which said that the (MoD) expressed its strong reservations to the "parallel negotiations" conducted by the PMO with France on the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighet jet deal.
The Hindu, in its report, claimed the Defence Ministry had expressed strong reservations to the "parallel negotiations" conducted by the Prime Minister's Office with France on the multi-billion dollar deal.
According to the report by N. Ram, at the height of the negotiations over the controversial €7.87 billion Rafale deal between India and France, the Defence Ministry raised strong objections to "parallel negotiations" conducted by the PMO with the French side.
Stating that it was clear that such parallel discussions by the PMO had "weakened the negotiating position of MoD and Indian Negotiating Team," a Defence Ministry note dated November 24, 2015 brought this to the attention of the then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar.
Referring to a media report, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that the Supreme Court's judgment on Rafale is now under question as "Defence Ministry itself says that PM Modi was conducting parallel negotiations with France".
Defence Ministry's letter proves that what Former French President Hollande said was true, he added.