Rahul Gandhi fires queries at Centre as Rafale jets land

Rahul's comments came after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the Rafale jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF, referring to the Cong's accusations

Rahul Gandhi also congratulated the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the arrival of the fighter jets. Photo: PTI (File)

Hours after India received its first batch of new combat-proven fighter aircraft in two decades with the arrival of five Rafale jets, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi posed three questions to the Centre on the purchase of the aircraft.

Congratulating the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the arrival of the fighter jets, Rahul, in a tweet asked why each aircraft cost ₹1,670 crore instead of ₹526 crore and why 36 aircraft were bought instead of 126. He also asked why was bankrupt Anil Ambani given a ₹30,000-crore contract instead of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

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Rahul’s comments came after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the Rafale jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF, referring to the Congress’ accusations of financial wrongdoings in sealing the deal. “The baseless allegations against this procurement have already been answered and settled,” he said.

In a veiled warning to China, amid the border row with the neighbouring country, Rajnath said if it was anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity.

The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived at Ambala air force station on Wednesday (July 29) afternoon, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of ₹59,000 crore.

“This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and Electronic Warfare capabilities are amongst the best in the world. Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country,” the defence minister said in a series of tweets.

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