Modi government on Wednesday launched a counter-attack on the Congress on Rafale, asserting that it had negotiated a better deal than the previous UPA government.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dismissed Congress President Rahul Gandhi's allegations of involving Anil Ambani's company in the Rafale deal stating that there was no scope for private participation in the purchase of fighter jets from France.
“Not a single screw will be put on the 36 Rafale fighter jets in India. All aircraft will be built entirely in France and will be flown here directly,” Jaitley said after a meeting of Council of Ministers and the Union Cabinet.
Earlier, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and senior Defence Ministry officials made a detailed presentation on the deal for the ministers, running into more than two-and-a-half hours.
The security brass also highlighted the aircraft's capability and how they would prove an asset to the Air Force.
"To satisfy the ego of an uninformed gentleman, there are no options," Jaitley said about Gandhi's repeated attacks on the government on Rafale.
“Congress has proved that in dynastic parties ignorance is contagious ... let the contagion stay in the Congress... you don't get infected,” Jaitley said and blamed the “backwardness in thought” of the main Opposition party for the woes of the private defence sector in India.
“It is the backwardness of thought of the Congress that we continue to import weapons and do not manufacture them in the country,” he said and credited the Vajpayee government for heralding 26% FDI in defence sector.
However, 26% FDI cap discouraged foreign companies from transferring technology to Indian companies, which prompted the Modi government to enhance it to 49%, he said.
"Big firms like Boeing, Lockheed Martin are coming to India now... manufacturing has started for the first time... Our policy is that defence PSUs should get adequate orderlines," the minister added.
He also hit out at Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi for drawing parallels between the Rafale deal and the AK-103 rifle contract, adding: "The Rafale deal involved purchase of aircraft in flyaway condition, while the AK-103 deal involved manufacturing rifles in India."