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Opposition Attacks Modi Government for Keeping Rafale Price Under Wraps

© AFP 2023 / MIGUEL MEDINA The Dassault Rafale fighter jet
The Dassault Rafale fighter jet - Sputnik International
The $8.8 billion outlay for the deal includes, in addition to the per unit cost of 36 Rafale jets, the cost of weapons, equipment, tools, documentation, training, and logistics – the contract of many of which will go to India’s private sector.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Narendra Modi-led government of India has refused to divulge the cost-per-unit of the 36 Rafale fighter jets it is buying from France. When attacked by the opposition over the allegedly "exorbitant" outlay for the purchase, Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharama told the Parliament that the details of the deal could not be divulged as it is "classified information."

"As per Article-10 of the Inter-Governmental Agreement between Government of India and Government of France on the purchase of Rafale aircraft, the protection of the classified information and material exchanged under the Inter-Governmental Agreement is governed by the provisions of the Security Agreement signed between the two nations in 2008," Sitharaman has claimed in her written response to the query.

Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has alleged that the deal smells of a huge scam and that Prime Minister Modi has tweaked the specifics of the deal to benefit "a businessman."

READ MORE: Rafale Deal Under Heavy Fire Ahead of French President's India Visit

The India-France inter-governmental agreement on the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets for the Indian armed forces has been shrouded in controversy ever since it was signed on September 26, 2016 — two-and-a-half years after the Bharatiya Janta Party came to power. The earlier government led by the Congress Party had entered into a similar agreement with France to purchase 126 Rafale jets, but the deal did not come through as the party was voted out of power before the price of the fighter jets could be finalized.  

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