Rafale deal: Sitharaman’s claim on lack of IAF infra preposterous, says Congress

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 14, 2018 6:00:16 am

Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala.

Stepping up its attack on the government over the Rafale fighter jet deal, the Congress on Thursday termed as “preposterous” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s assertion that the government chose to procure only 36 aircraft from france in 2015, instead of the 126 being negotiated by the UPA government, as infrastructure and other technical requirements of the Indian Air Force do not allow for greater induction. The Congress said the Defence Minister has been “caught lying again”.

“The claim of Defence Minister that IAF does not have the infrastructure — parking place and maintenance facility — for 126 fighter aircraft is preposterous and goes against the grain of national security requirements. Does the Defence Minister even know that there is a sanctioned strength of 42 air squadrons for IAF,” Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said. “The Air Force had maintained up to 37-38 squadrons of fighter aircraft in the past. It currently has 33 squadrons, which is likely to fall to 31 by 2021. Considering that the Rafale aircraft will not be delivered till 2022, there will be available existing…

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