English हिन्दी
Connect with us

India News

Rafale deal controversy: French government’s statement, what is says, what it doesn’t

Published

on

Rafale deal controversy: French government’s statement, what is says, what it doesn’t

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s statement in Lok Sabha, during the debate on no-confidence motion against Narendra Modi government, that there was no secrecy pact between India and France over deal for purchase of Rafale aircraft, was countered by French government within hours.

The statement issued by the French government affirmed that a secrecy pact exists between the two countries. The statement, however, only said the agreement “legally binds the two states to protect the classified information provided by the partner, that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment”.

However, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stretched the meaning of “classified information… that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment” to include the aircraft price.

Also lost in the noise was the aspect of shunting out public sector’s Hindustan Aeronautcis Limited, which has been making fighter aircraft for decades, and giving the contract to a private player with no background or experience in the field.

Read More:  Hug gone wrong? BJP to bring privilege motion against Rahul Gandhi for his allegations on Rafale deal

In its statement issued from Paris, the French foreign ministry said: “We have noted the statement of Mr Rahul Gandhi before the Indian Parliament. France and India concluded in 2008 a security agreement, which legally binds the two states to protect the classified information provided by the partner, that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment of India or France. These provisions naturally apply to the IGA concluded on 23 September 2016, on the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircraft and their weapons. As the President of the French Republic indicated publicly in an interview to India Today on March 9, 2018, ‘In India and in France, when a deal is very sensitive, we can’t reveal all details’.”

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also contradicted Rahul and cited Article 10 of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between the two countries on the purchase of Rafale aircraft, which calls for the protection of classified information and materials exchanged under the pact.

She said this agreement was signed in 2008 by UPA government’s defence minister AK Anthony – which wasn’t quite accurate. That deal was junked and replaced by another in 2016, as mentioned in French government’s statement.

Read More: No confidence motion: After a scathing attack, Rahul Gandhi hugs PM Modi

As in the French government’s statement yesterday – Friday, July 20 – even in the interview that French president Macron gave to India Today, he did not say Indian government could not disclose the aircraft cost. He said, “…they will have to consider which details they would want to be revealed to the opposition and Parliament.”[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1532169050900{padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #a2b1bf !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”]Here is the relevant portion of the interview:

Raj Chengappa: Why can’t the details of the deal be revealed and the air cleared up rather than have accusations flying around?

President Macron: First of all, you have these commercial agreements, and obviously you have competitors and we can’t let them know details of the deal. In India and in France, when the deal is very sensitive, we can’t reveal details because of business reasons. Part of the absence of answers to some technical issues is these commercial agreements and the interests of different companies. Secondly, there are some discussions to be organised by the Indian government, and they will have to consider which details they would want to be revealed to the opposition and Parliament. I am not the one to interfere in such a discussion, and you too must realise that we have to consider commercial sensitivities.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]When Macron visited India in March this year, the two sides signed a new confidentiality agreement, replacing the 2008 pact, that shields the government from sharing classified information on defence deals, including the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, said a report in The Indian Express (IE). The pact, signed by NSA Ajit Doval and the French President’s diplomatic advisor Philippe Etienne, relates to the exchange and reciprocal protection of classified or protected information.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1532169104071{padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #a2b1bf !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”]Who said what in Parliament

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, while speaking in the Lok Sabha, said: “The defence minister is sitting here. She had initially said she will disclose to the nation the price of the aircraft. Later, the defence minister clearly said she cannot divulge the details because there is a secrecy pact with France. I met the French President. I asked him is there any such pact between India and France. And the French President told me that there is no such pact between the Indian government and French government. That is the truth… Nirmala Sitharaman has spoken untruth, under pressure from Narendra Modi… Nirmala Sitharaman and the Prime Minister must inform the country.”

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was allowed to speak after Rahul’s hour-long speech, said: “On the secrecy clause, I would like to show it before you, and I have submitted it for your consideration. It is an agreement which was signed during the previous government on January 25, 2008. The agreement of secrecy is an umbrella agreement, which was signed by then defence minister, A K Antony.”

Waving the agreement, she said, “This agreement clearly mentions… (that) ‘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 materials exchanged under the IGA shall be governed by the provisions of the security agreement signed on 25 January 2008’.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also referred to the issue in his speech. “Just because of one careless allegation in the House on Rafale, both the nations had to release statements. One should not indulge in such childish behaviour,” he said.

Rahul, however, said he stood by his statement in Parliament. “Let them deny if they want. He (Macron) said that before me. I was there, Anand Sharma and former prime minister Manmohan Singh were also there,” he said.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The controversy first broke out on February 5 this year, when Sitharaman told Rajya Sabha that the cost of Rafale aircraft could not be shared since it was “classified information” under the security agreement between the two countries. In a statement issued two days later, the defence ministry said that “in not revealing the item-wise details of the contract, the government is merely following in letter and spirit the confidentiality provisions of a bilateral India-France agreement of 2008, signed by the previous government.”

Read More: No confidence vote: Outcome known, BJP & Opposition hope to score propaganda points

Article 18(3) of the “Agreement between The Government of the Republic of India and The Government of the French Republic concerning the Protection of Classified Information and Material in the field of Defence”, signed in New Delhi on January 25, 2008, states that it will “remain in force for a period of 10 years”, and can “be renewed by tacit consent for a new five-year period”.

According to Article 11(3) of the agreement, “For any contract or sub-contracting contract that includes classified information and material, a security annex shall be drawn up. In this annex, the competent security authority from the party forwarding the information or the material, shall specify what has to be protected by the receiving party, as well as the corresponding classification level, applicable to it.”

However, as per law, pointed out the IE report, the government is bound to provide full information to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

Also, at a press conference conducted in the defence ministry in 2017, Sitharaman, flanked by the defence secretary and the deputy chief of air staff, had stated that her ministry “had nothing to hide” and would share the full price details of the deal, reported IE.

In November 2016, Dr Subhash Bhamre, MoS (Defence), in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, had said that the “cost of each Rafale aircraft is around Rs 670 crore”. After signing the deal with France in September 2016, top defence ministry officials had also given the breakdown of the Euro 7.9 billion deal for 36 Rafale fighters, as reported by The Indian Express. The basic cost of 36 aircraft was Euro 3,402 million (approximately Rs 670 crore per aircraft), the weaponry cost Euro 710 million, spare parts Euro 1,800 million, weather and terrain compatibility fits Euro 1,700 million, and performance-based logistics support Euro 353 million.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

India News

Rajya Sabha passes Women’s Reservation Bill, all it now needs is President Murmu’s assent

The Rajya Sabha passed the Women’s Reservation Bill unanimously on Thursday. A voice vote was taken with Chairman of the House Jagdeep Dhankhar declaring the ayes have it. Then it was voted on with 215 in support and zero against.

Published

on

The Rajya Sabha passed the Women’s Reservation Bill unanimously on Thursday. A voice vote was taken with Chairman of the House Jagdeep Dhankhar declaring the ayes have it. Then it was voted on with 215 in support and zero against.

Just before the vote, drawing the two-day discussions in both Houses to a close, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the members and political parties for their constructive suggestions. He noted some 132 members spoke in both Houses of Parliament.

The synergy of the government and the Opposition over women’s reservation was a confidence-building measure, he said. This sends a new message to the people, he added. The Lok Sabha had cleared the Bill yesterday with 454 votes in favour and 2 against.

Earlier in the Rajya Sabha, Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said with 33% reservation for women in the country, India will steal a march over developed nations which don’t have such measures.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, wondered why the reservation was being promised after Census and delimitation. He demanded that the House be told when the reservation will be in effect as to the date and month and year when it will come into force.

Kharge joked if like the Rs 15 lakh and the 2 crore job promise of the BJP ahead of elections, this would also be an election jumla as said by party leaders. He said almost every party supports you on the Bill but let our support not go waste in election propaganda of the BJP. Raising each and every point, Kharge kept repeating that he was supporting the Bill in a scene reminiscent of Mark Antony’s speech from the play Julius Caesar. Pushing for the OBC quota, he said even SC/ST officers don’t even make it to joint secretary level.

Kharge asked if you can come up with the sudden demonetisation of 2016, why didn’t you bring this Bill then? There was no Opposition to you in the first term in the Lok Sabha, he charged.

Congress MP KC Venugopal mocked the BJP for its pro-women stance by saying that its stalwarts Vajpayee, Advani and Jaswant Singh voted against women’s quota in 1989.  

Earlier, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the BJP has been consistently in support of women’s reservation. She said the BJP doesn’t like to bring politics in women-related matters.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi slammed the UPA government for not supporting the Bill in the Lok Sabha. He said its allies did not want this Bill to be passed.

Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan noted that when a similar Bill was presented in the House in the presence of CPM leader Brinda Karat and late Sushma Swaraj but failed to pass. Bachchan said the SP is not against the Bill, her party has some concerns as echoed by other parties as well.

Before this, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien and Dhankhar had an altercation over time allotted to MPs to speak on the issue.

Independent MP Kapil Sibal demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Shah if they do not complete the process of delimitation and implementation of the Women’s Reservation Bill by 2029.

Continue Reading

India News

Mumbai Police arrest two people who kidnapped, raped 14-year-old girl in moving taxi

Police have identified the two accused as Shiv Prakash Pandey and Salman Shaikh. Both of them are aged 25 years and 27 years respectively.

Published

on

Mumbai Police arrest two people who kidnapped, raped 14-year-old girl in moving taxi

Mumbai Police have registered a case against two people who kidnapped and then raped a 14 year old girl in a taxi. According to the police the girl had a fight with her family members. She decided to go in Malvani in Malad to meet her relative. On seeing the girl alone a taxi driver asked to drop her off to Malwani. The girl agreed and started going to Malwani with him.

The accused taxi driver took the taxi to Dadar. The Taxi driver stopped and made the accused Salman Shaikh sit with him. The family came to know about the girl’s disappearance. The girl’s family members contacted the Malabar Hill police station. They informed the police about the kidnapping.

A case was registered by the police as the girl was underage. A technical investigation was started by the police and came to know the girl had gone to a relative’s place in Malad. A team of police officers was sent to Malad to bring back the girl. Situation became serious when the girl revealed what happened on her way to Malad.

A police officer added two men were present inside the taxi. One was the taxi driver and the other man raped the girl at the back seat of the car. Different teams were formed to carry out the investigation in the case. The CCTV footage of the area was also used. According to the police the incident took place between Malad and Dadar.

Police have identified the two accused as Shiv Prakash Pandey and Salman Shaikh. Both of them are aged 25 years and 27 years respectively. According to the police Salman Shaikh works in a hotel in Dadar. The victim gave a statement on the basis of which a case has been registered in related POCSO section and section 376 of IPC. The accused have been produced in court where the court sent them to police custody till September 25.

Continue Reading

India News

Punjab: CM Bhagwant Mann hands over Rs 1 crore cheques to Anantnag encounter martyrs families

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also assured all possible help and support to the families of the martyred soldiers.

Published

on

Punjab: CM Bhagwant Mann hands over Rs 1 crore cheques to Anantnag encounter martyrs families

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday handed over cheques of Rs 1 crore each to the bereaved families of martyrs Colonel Manpreet Singh and martyr Pradeep Singh. They were among the soldiers who laid their lives in protecting the nation in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir.  

The anti-terror week-long operation in the Garol forests in the Anantnag district ended on Tuesday. The operation began when Colonel Manpreet Singh, commanding officer, 19 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Ashish Dhonchak and deputy superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Humayun Bhat were killed by terrorists.

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also assured all possible help and support to the families of the martyred soldiers. He expressed that martyr Colonel Manpreet Singh and martyr Pradeep Singh will always live in their memories. 

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, the Chief Minister conveyed that he met the families of Colonel Manpreet Singh of Kharar Constituency and Shaheed Pradeep Singh of Samana Constituency. He added that the families were handed over cheques of Rs 1 crore from the government as an honorarium.

According to reports, Colonel Manpreet Singh, commanding officer of the Rashtriya Rifles (19 RR) and a recipient of the prestigious Sena Medal (Gallantry), spoke to his family, just hours before dying of gunshot wounds. He is survived by wife, 2-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son, mother and a brother. 

The body of martyred soldier Pradeep Singh was recovered on Monday, after he went missing on the first day of the encounter. Martyr Pradeep Singh was with the Sikh Light Infantry and was a part of 19 Rashtriya Rifles. Reportedly, the 27-year-old soldier served in the Indian Army for seven years. He hailed from Patiala in Punjab and is survived by his wife.

Addressing a function late on Sunday evening, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha expressed that every drop of blood of the slain security personnel will be avenged and the terrorist handlers will have to pay a heavy price. He added that they have complete faith in the soldiers and the entire nation stands in solidarity with them.

Continue Reading

Trending

-->

© Copyright 2022 APNLIVE.com