Nirmala Sitharaman hits back: UPA didn’t take care of HAL, IAF interests

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: September 19, 2018 3:00:53 am

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (Expres photo by Renuka Puri/File)

WITH THE Congress accusing her of trying to tarnish the image of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said HAL was dropped from the Rafale deal negotiations during the UPA government itself as it could not agree with Dassault Aviation on “production terms”.

Sitharaman also indicated that the NDA government would not agree to the Congress’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the matter.

“The deal did not happen during the UPA time itself. HAL and Dassault could not agree on production terms and, as a result, HAL and Rafale could not go together. Doesn’t that clearly say who did not go together with HAL and under which government it happened? So, to be repeatedly told ‘you have not taken care of HAL’ is misplaced,” said Sitharaman during an interaction with the media at the Indian Women’s Press Corps.

“Is it not obvious that the interest of HAL could have been taken care of even during that time. Neither the interest of HAL nor the interest of the Indian Air Force were taken care of,” she said. “All these attributes…

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