Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharama rebutted the charge leveled by Congress president Rahul Gandhi about Rafale aircraft deal between India and France.
Sitharaman said that Rahul Gandhi was “wrong” about his claim with regard to secrecy clause in the Rafale deal. Quoting from an interview of French President Emmanuel Macron to India Today, Nirmala Sitharaman said that the French government’s position about secrecy deal contradicts Rahul Gandhi’s claim.
Nirmala Sitharaman said that the secrecy clause of the Rafale deal that she had referred to in the past for not disclosing the details of the agreement was signed during UPA-I regime.
“This was an agreement signed between the two governments on January 25, 2008. Agreement of Secrecy was signed by then defence minister AK Antony,” Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha after Rahul Gandhi accused her of speaking “untruth” about Rafale deal.
“As per the Article 10 of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) between the government of India and government of France on the purchase of Rafale aircraft the protection of classified information and materials exchanged under IGA shall be governed by the provisions of security agreement signed on January 25, 2008,” Nirmala Sitharaman said reading from the agreement signed during Manmohan Singh government.
She further read out from an interview of Macron published in India Today magazine to prove her point. Responding to a question about the secrecy clause in the Rafale deal, Sitharaman quoted Macron as saying, “You have these commercial agreements and we have competitors and obviously we cannot let them know the details of the deal.”
Earlier participating in the discussion on no-confidence motion, Rahul Gandhi had claimed that during his interaction with Macron, the French president had denied that there was any secrecy clause between India and France that prohibited the Modi government from revealing details of the Rafale deal. He said Nirmala Sitharaman told lie about Rafale deal under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pressure.
News credit : Indiatoday