Despite the Supreme Court’s clean chit to the Union government on Rafale deal, the Congress party and its president Rahul Gandhi have repeatedly questioned the Modi government over the agreement. A similar effort by Congress mouthpiece, National Herald (NH), over the pricing of Rafale, however, has been rebutted by the French Ambassador to India on Tuesday (16 January).
The paper, based on a Defense News article, reported that French government had signed an agreement with Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of Rafale fighter jet, for 28 Rafale fighter aircraft at the cost of €2.3 billion. It added that the Indian government had sealed the deal for 36 Rafale fighter planes for €7.8 billion.
The Defense News report, however, mentions the price of the ‘deal’ at €2 billion and not €2.3 billion as claimed in NH report.
However, a little while after they put the news on Twitter, French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler responded that the French government has not announced any new aircraft acquisition order and that the amount referred in the report will only finance development of F4 standard for the Rafale aircraft.
Ziegler also said the remaining 28 aircraft that are yet to be delivered to French air force are part of previous acquisition contracts.
Interestingly, original defence news report, from where the Congress mouthpiece sourced its report, has since then updated its piece by adding an Editor’s note saying, “The €2 billion (U.S. $2.3 billion) sum mentioned in this article is for the development of the F4 standard for Rafale aircraft.”
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