Rafale: Report claims MoD protested against PMO undermining negotiations
New Delhi, Feb 08: Amidst the negotiations over the Rafale deal between India and France, the Defence Ministry had raised strong objections to parallel negotiations, a report in the The Hindu has claimed.
Citing a Defence Ministry note dated November 24 2015, the report also stated that it was clear that such parallel discussions by the PMO had weakened the negotiating position of the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Negotiating Team. This was brought to the attention of then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, the report also added.
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?— Congress (@INCIndia) February 8, 2019
Looks like we have the answer now...https://t.co/B8gj9PJNQe#PakdaGayaModi
The report while citing official documents stated that the Defence Ministry had protested that the position taken by the PMO was contradictory to the stand taken by the MoD and the negotiating team.
The then defence secretary, G Mohan Kumar made this official notation in his own hand in which it was stated, "RM may pl. see. It is desirable that such discussions be avoided by PMO as it undermines our negotiating position seriously," the report also said.
The Hindu report also makes note of the submissions that the government had made to the Supreme Court in October 2018. The government had said that the negotiations over the Rafale Deal were conducted by a seven member team headed by the Deputy Chief of Air Staff. There was no mention of any role for the PMO in these negotiations.