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Nirmala Sitharaman refuses to reveal Rafale jet prices over national security concerns

By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/secdef/36624276764/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday refused to cite prices of Rafale jets just to “satisfy Rahul Gandhi’s ego” by arguing that doing so will also raise implications and concerns of national security.

While answering to a question in this regard during the India Economic Conclave event in Delhi, Sitharaman rejected Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s allegations of corruption against the government and said that revealing prices just to please him will be dangerous because that could result in enemy nations knowing about India’s defence capabilities.

“By revealing the price for the fear of being accused of being corruption here I am not just helping Rahul Gandhi to satisfy his ego saying, ‘Ha! I made a demand and this government replied!’ I will be helping our enemies too by saying what kinds of avionics I have got, what kind of ammunitions are attached to it, what special changes have been made which are country specific.”

The Raksha Mantri slammed Rahul Gandhi’s charges suggesting that prices fixed by UPA were much lower than those agreed by the Modi government, saying that there can be no comparison at all because the previous government never fixed a price and only kept negotiating with the French company.

This is not the first time Sitharaman responded to this issue and dismissed allegations of corruption. Previously also she had refused to reveal prices but had claimed that they are much lower than figures negotiated by Manmohan Singh’s government.