15:42 GMT +315 October 2018
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    French Air Force Rafale manufactured by France's Dassault Aviation speeds above Le Bourget airport, north of Paris, during the 44th Paris Air Show, in France. (File)

    Indian Defense Minister Heads to France as Court Seeks Details of Rafale Deal

    © AP Photo / Remy de la Mauviniere
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    India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, claims that the price of each Rafale jet negotiated under the erstwhile government led by Manmohan Singh was INR 526 crore ($79 million) but has gone up to INR 1,670 crore ($251 million) under the present deal struck with France by the Modi government, which came to power in 2014.

    India's Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to meet her French counterpart, Florence Parly, to take stock of the progress in the Rafale fighter jet deal inked by the two sides in 2016. The development comes after India's apex court on Wednesday asked the Narendra Modi-led government to provide details of the decision-making process of the controversial Rafale deal in a sealed envelope.

    Earlier, the advocate of the Indian government had argued that the details of the deal could not be shown to anybody in the interest of national security and other issues involved in the defense procurement process.

    "We are not on the issue of pricing and suitability of the Rafale jets but only on the decision-making process," a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.

    On Monday, petitioner M.L. Sharma claimed in his plea that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an "outcome of corruption" and not ratified by parliament.

    READ MORE: India Hopes for Early Conclusion of $19 Billion Contract for 110 Fighter Jets

    "The Supreme Court has asked for the #RAFALE decision-making process. It's quite simple really…The PM decided. The processes to justify his decision are yet to be invented. But work has begun. (Ps. In this connection, Raksha Mantri is leaving for France tonight.)" Rahul Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress, tweeted soon after the Supreme Court of India's direction.

    Defense Minister Sitharaman will be in France for two days, where she will hold the first-ever defense dialogue with her counterpart, Parly. She will also meet French President Emmanuel Macron, besides visiting a few French air force and naval bases.

    Related:

    Rafale Deal Under Heavy Fire Ahead of French President's India Visit
    India's Opposition Smells Rat in Rafale Deal
    French Defense Minister Set to Garner New Contract for Rafale Jets in India
    India to Station Rafale Jets Within Strike Range of China and Pakistan
    Tags:
    corruption charges, Supreme Court, controversy, Fighter jet, Rafale, Rafale fighter jets, Indian Defense Ministry, Indian Air Force, Nirmala Sitharaman, India, France
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