New Delhi: Debunking Rahul Gandhi's charges that the government did not get a sovereign guarantee from France, top government sources said country's biggest defence partners US and Russia also provide a letter of comforts at the level of their defence ministers whereas the French side has backed the contract at the level of their Prime Minister. 

A senior government source who was also the part of the contract negotiation committee said that the matter related to the French government not giving a sovereign guarantee and agreeing only for a Letter of Comfort was discussed at the level of Cabinet Committee on Security and the matter was cleared satisfactorily as the French Prime Minister had signed the letter of comfort which is at a higher level than what is done in government to government deals with Russia and the US.

The Congress President had today tweeted: "The latest skeleton to tumble out of the RAFALE cupboard:  NO Guarantee by the French Govt. backing the deal. 
BUT, our PM says there’s a letter from the French promising to be faithful! That’s enough to call this a “Govt to Govt” deal? "

The source said these issue had come up for discussion before the negotiations committee.
On the issue of a former Defence Finance Secretary raising questions on the possibility of the French government not honouring the contract, the sources said the French have always honoured their commitments in the past whether it was the contract for upgrading Mirage-2000 or the supply of 51 Mirages in the 1980s.

"On the contrary, if we look at the contracts with the Russians such as the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier where the Indian government had to pay USD two billion more to get the warship and that too after a delay of more than four years," they said.

They also said that when it comes to the US on the Foreign Military Sales deals, the American government charges three per cent of the contract worth as the charge for looking after the deal for the Indian government. 

Yesterday, the issue had come up for discussion during the hearing of the Rafale issue in Supreme Court. The government told the Supreme Court Wednesday that no "sovereign guarantee" was given by the French government on the deal for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets.

The French government has however given a 'letter of comfort' to India which would be good enough 'governmental guarantee', Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
"There is no sovereign guarantee but there is a letter of comfort from France dated September 25, 2015, which says that if there are any exigencies, it would be taken care of by them (France)," Venugopal told the bench.
The issue of lack of sovereign guarantee was flagged by advocate Prashant Bhushan, who has filed a petition in the apex court along with former BJP veterans Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie seeking a court-monitored CBI investigation in the alleged criminality in the Rafale deal.