Rafale row: Government will fight perception battle, says Sitharaman

PM mocks Congress, alleges Opp party is looking for alliance with foreign partners

The company added that the plan to collaborate on aerospace products was cemented during the Aero India air show in February 2015, around two months before the Rafale deal was signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10. French company Dassault, which is supplying the fighter jets, has entered into a joint venture with Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence to meet its offset obligations to create business for Indian firms, following the Rafale deal.

Saffron party leaders have been furious after neighbouring country's former interior minister of Pakistan Rehman Malik had Tweeted that Rahul Gandhi will be the next prime minister of India and that Modi is scared of Gandhi.

As allegations flew thick and fast, the Congress released a video showing Dassault CEO Eric Trappier telling a gathering at an event about "responsibility sharing" with HAL on the Rafale contract, indicating that it was nearly finalised.

He also alleged that the UPA government wanted to use the company of Bhandari and Vadra as the middlemen and when this could not materialise they are conspiring to get the present government-to-government deal of 36 fighter jets to be cancelled to take revenge.

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Shekhawat alleged that Gandhi is involved in "conspiracy, internationally". The Indian government suggested this service provider and Dassault negotiated with Ambani.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has at last admitted that the Narendra Modi Government is losing ground in the messy Rafale fighter het deal, which has turned into an all-out slugfest between the BJP and the main Opposition party, Congress.

"The sad truth about India's Commander in Thief", Gandhi said on Twitter, in what appeared to be an attack on the prime minister. Rahul further said the PM should answer why the details of the Rafale deal price was not disclosed and how did he choose Ambani for the deal.

He also said the Congress was trying to sour the relations between India and France by misleading everyone on the Rafale issue.

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