New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday hit back at Congress party over its allegations in connection with the Rafale deal and said that the Opposition is scared of facts. “This country will have to understand that national security is important, whether they (opposition) are in power or we are (BJP). We cannot run away from facts. There is a difference between defence dealings and dealing in defence. We don’t do defence dealings. We deal in defence with national security as a priority,” stated the Union Minister in Lok Sabha, during debate on Rafale deal.
She added,”The environment around India is very volatile. It is important for us to understand that whosoever is in power, will want peace. But it cannot be at the cost of making our armed forces feel that they are not being given enough to fight.”
“Timely getting the equipment should be the priority. Our two borders are always highly sensitive and it is important to timely purchase the ammunition. We have had wars in northern and western frontiers. We have to recognise the sense of urgency.”
She also assured that the first aircraft would be delivered in September this year and 36 aircraft would be delivered by 2022. “The first aircraft will be delivered in September 2019 and 36 aircraft will be delivered in the year 2022. The process of negotiation was finished in 14 months,” said Sitharaman.
Expressing disappointment over the deadlock in Parliament over Rafale fighter jet deal , Sitharaman stated, “Senior members of the Opposition don’t want to hear my answers. It is very disheartening.”
Earlier in the day, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had said that there will be criminal investigation on Rafale and accused will be punished if his party comes to power in forthcoming Lok Sbaha elections. Gandhi had also u urged Sitharaman to answer the questions raised by the Congress on the multi-million dollar fighter jet deal.
“We and the entire opposition want that when defence minister speaks on the PM’s behalf, the questions raised by us should be answered,” Gandhi told reporters. Furthermore, Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of running away from the debate and said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should answer questions raised by the Congress instead of abusing him.