While the BJP and the Congress traded political barbs over Rafale, with the latter charging against the ruling party at the Centre armed with a newspaper report that purportedly published the abridged version of a defence ministry note from 2015 that alleged that the PMO was leading parallel negotiations with the French party, the saffron party hit exposing Rahul Gandhi’s “Rafale lies” in a series of 10 tweets.

Also, defence expert Abhijit Iyer Mitra, in a series of tweets, took the wind out of the Congress sails on the Rafale controversy.  

On the issue of sovereign guarantees that has been raised by Gandhi, Mitra said “sovereign guarantees cost money, they don't come for free. The French were objecting to giving sovereign guarantees on the basis of a precedent: that giving a sovereign guarantees on one would mean giving sovereign guarantees on a whole host of other purchases, especially nuclear where extraneous circumstances may hold France in violation of NPT obligations,” he said on Twitter.

“EU, OECD & International anti trust laws means that a sovereign guarantee of 7 billion euros plus would be 80% of the market capitalisation of Dassault which is valued at 10 billion,” he said, adding, “This means France would have to change national legislation and run up against a host of international legislation, mostly because the military and civil aviation businesses of Dassault are intertwined.”

“The problem with this that,” Mitra continued, “if India asks for an India Specific exception France would (and indeed I am informed they did) ask for an India Specific exemption to the Indian Nuclear Liability bill. This is why we need to understand that this was a maximalist negotiating position that we had to back down on, part of any negotiating process and the ramifications were interdepartmental - affecting trade, international treaty obligations for both countries & especially nuclear and NPT issues for both countries.”

“These issues fall OUTSIDE the purvey of the MoD,” he said.

Mitra attacked N Ram, saying, “The problem now is that N Ram, being clueless about everything outside cricket, despite his delusions to the contrary, has disclosed the fact that India was as part of negotiations willing to back down on sovereign guarantees. This was something the MoD had wanted to use as a precedent with the French to strong arm others on Nuclear issues (especially the US and other European countries that hold nuclear patents). Now thanks to N Ram our negotiating weakness vis-a-vis the French is in full public view and has consequences well beyond just #Rafale and defence.”

BJP’s first charge is that Congress chief Gandhi lied about there being a trade-off between Dassault and the Modi government in awarding the offsets to Reliance.


The second tweet pertains to Gandhi’s allegations that the Supreme Court found irregularities in the procedure of procurement. BJP alleged that Gandhi “Indulged in third grade level propaganda on a sub judice matter.”


The BJP produced yet another evidence of false propaganda in its third tweet. While Gandhi alleged that an official was punished for dissenting on Rafale procurement, the officer in question had come on record later to deny that.


The fourth tweet was over Gandhi’s assertion that former French President Francois Hollande had called PM Modi a thief. Hollande had later rubbished it.


In yet another tweet, the BJP attacked Gandhi for having claimed that he had met French President Macron, who allegedly told him that there was no non-disclosure agreement, The French head of state had rubbished the claims.


In the sixth tweet, BJP chided Gandhi for having quoted different prices for Rafale at different occasions.


In the next tweet, the BJP attacked Gandhi for having claimed without basis, and which was confirmed by the SC in its judgment, that acquisition norms had been circumvented in the case of Rafale by the Modi regime.


In the eighth tweet, the ruling party’s official twitter handle clarified the distinction between bare-bones aircraft and the one fitted with the complete operational package.


Against allegations of crony capitalism and nepotism in the deal, the BJP cited SC order in which it said that acquisition was done for national preparedness against enemies.


In its last tweet, the party cited the cropped letter cited by a media house on which the latest Congress barrage of allegations is based, calling Congressmen ‘photoshoppers’ and the media house as a ‘partner in crime’.