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Rafale negotiations had reached advanced stage under UPA says Reddy

By Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, Mar 08: Senior Congress leader S Jaipal Reddy claimed that Rafale negotiations were brought to an "advanced stage" during UPA regime but the Modi government "delayed" the deal.

Senior Congress leader S Jaipal Reddy

"Rafale has been delayed because of (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi. The negotiations were brought to an advanced stage during the Manmohan Singh government. The negotiations were almost finalised in March, 2014. Then came the elections. Then you (Modi) took office in May. Why did you delay it for four years. There was no delay on the part of the UPA government at all, he told reporters.

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He was asked to comment on Modi's allegation that the Rafale fighter aircraft deal got delayed because of the Congress and furore by other opposition parties.

Reddy also said India did very well in carrying out air strikes against terror camps in Pakistan, but that cannot be used for political purposes.

Asked about the political fight over the veracity of the strikes, Reddy said Congress President Rahul Gandhi was among the first to salute the IAF, it was Modi who "personalized" the entire outcome, he alleged.

The Congress leader congratulated The Hindu newspaper for publishing very relevant, correct, authentic document in regard to the alleged dissent about the price of Rafale aircraft.

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"Rafale aircraft is more costly in the hands of NDA government than the one negotiated by UPA... The CAG said the price negotiated by the UPA was costlier by 2.5 per cent. It arrived at the figure because it did not take into account bank guarantees. If you take into account the expenditure incurred by bank guarantees, the purchase price under UPA would have been cheaper. This fact has been brought out through a document published by N Ram (of The Hindu).., Reddy said.

He said journalists should be able to publish any document provided it is authentic.

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