NDA always worked in favour of HAL: Nirmala Sitharaman

NDA always worked in favour of HAL: Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing a press conference at Yelahanka Air Force Station in the city on Sunday. (DH Photo/B H Shivakumar)

Rejecting the Opposition's allegations that the NDA government's Rafale deal hurt HAL's prospects, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the Centre has been taking every step to boost the fortunes of the city-based company.

Responding to questions at a press conference here, she said the Union government has helped Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) increase the production of Tejas — a multi-role light fighter.

“Under the leadership of Modi, we analysed the troubles that the HAL faced in producing Tejas and helped it to boost its production. We have been assisting the company to increase its production from eight per year to 16 now,” she said.

The minister slammed the Congress for charging her with corruption in the Rafale deal.

She said the deal initiated between HAL and Dassault during the UPA government did not materialise.

“Nothing was finalised by the UPA government, whether or not to give orders to HAL. The deal was only under negotiation. The Congress did not do anything for the HAL before we came. How can I be blamed for taking away jobs from HAL?” she asked.

On asked why she did not appear in the city during the BBMP elections to support her party’s candidate, Nirmala said she was in Jodhpur attending an important event, and she had conveyed the same to her party leaders.

Aero Show 2019

Air Marshal R K S Bhadauria said the Rafales made by Dassault for Indian Airforce would not participate in the Aero Show 2019, as they would be ready a little later.

“Currently, the aircraft is under developing stage. Research and development are being carried out on the same. We expect Dassault to participate in the event, but with other Rafales,” he said.

He added that the Ministry of Defence was yet to decide on who should inaugurate the event.

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