Goa CM Manohar Parrikar Said "Over-Reaction" On Rafale Note, Government Weighs In

Goa CM Manohar Parrikar Said "Over-Reaction" On Rafale Note, Government Weighs In

Goa CM Manohar Parrikar Said "Over-Reaction" On Rafale Note, Government Weighs In

New Delhi: Nirmala Sitharaman, the Defence Minister today attacked the Congress Party and dismissed the Hindu's report as "selective journalism." The report said that the defence ministry objected to the "parallel negotiations" by the Prime Minister's Office into the Rafale deal. The English daily had cited an internal note of the ministry, which said "parallel discussions by the PMO has weakened the negotiating positions by the MoD and the negotiating team".

"We may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of the Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays with the officers of the French Government," the cited note read.

After the Congress claimed it supports its contention about the interference of the PM's Office in the deal, The Defence Ministry tore into the report, calling it "slanderous" and "irresponsible".

"Please see the then defence minister statements... See how this publication conveniently chooses not to quote the then defence minister," she said. "Then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikarji replied to that MoD note that 'remain calm, nothing to worry, everything is going alright," she added.

The Chief Minister of Goa, Mr Parrikar's handwritten remarks at the bottom of the report said the PMO and the French President's Office were "monitoring the progress of the issue which was an outcome of the summit meeting". The concerns expressed in paragraph 5 of the note of then defence secretary, G Mohan Kumar, "appears to be an over-reaction", the minister wrote, adding "Defence Secretary may resolve the matter in consultation with Principal Secretary to PM".

The Defence Minister had made her position clear in the Lok Sabha too. "If the newspaper wanted to bring out the truth, they would have approached the defence ministry and done a thorough check. They would also have approached the then Raksha Mantri (Parrikar) for his views on it. The said paper has gone ahead and published a report without any facts to back it," she said.

Ms Sitharaman also told the media that a call for updates by the Prime Minister's Office cannot be termed interference. "Interference is what Sonia Gandhi did with not just all the ministries, but the PMO too. That is what is called interference," she added.

The Congress shot back:

The Congress was also attacked by the minister, which renewed its demand for a joint parliamentary committee investigation into the Rafale deal.

"Lastly, look at the kind of language and intent Rahul Gandhi has stooped to... Calling the PM Chor, and me all sorts of names was one thing... but today he was trying to create a divide between the armed forces and the country's leadership... between the service chiefs and the prime minister... This is deplorable," she said.