WEB DESK / NEW DELHI
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that government bought only 36 Rafale jets as back-end infra didn’t allow for more.
“Government chose to procure 36 Rafale jets instead of 126 as was negotiated by the previous government because infrastructure and other technical requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF) do not allow for greater induction”, Sitharaman said in an iterview to Indian Express.
“Every time you induct one squadron, there is a requirement for a lot of other paraphernalia. Given a set of parameters, if you quickly want to induct, two is the ideal.” Sitharaman said that “because in ready, flyway condition, that is all you can induct”. She also said that it wasn’t the first time such a deal had been done.
Asked why she didn’t make the price of the deal public as she said she would during a press conference, Sitharaman said she meant only the basic price of the aircraft (Rs 6.7 billion) which had been mentioned in Parliament.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her ministry have been under attack from the opposition parties, led by the Congress party, over the Rafale deal. The BJP government has been questioned on why it reduced the number of Rafale jets to be procured from the earlier 126, which was negotiated by the UPA government, to now 36. The price of the deal has also become a subject of much debate after the Centre refused to divulge the full-fledged details.