New Delhi: Terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's deal for 36 Rafale aircraft as a "much better deal" than that of the Congress for 126 planes, Indian Air Force (IAF) brass on Tuesday dismissed the charges of awarding Rs 30,000 crore offsets contract to Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence, saying the Rahul Gandhi-led party was "misinformed" over the issue. 

IAF vice-chief Air Marshal SB Deo and deputy chief Air Marshal R Nambiar said the IAF had managed to get a better deal than the one negotiated by the Congress in 2008, in terms of price, maintenance terms, delivery schedule and other related issues.


"Commercial negotiations for the aircraft were done by the deputy chief of air staff and he was responsible for the negotiations which continued for 14 months. We believe we met all the directions given to us by our leadership. That means better price, better maintenance terms and better delivery schedule. All in all, a much better deal than what was obtained in 2008," Nambiar said when asked about French media reports saying that there was a push by the Indian government to include Anil Ambani in the 36 plane deal.

Also read: Dassault, HAL's 'unresolved issues' led to fall of Congress-Rafale deal: Senior defence officials

The IAF officers also debunked the allegations that Anil Ambani was getting contracts worth Rs 30,000 crore as a result of the deal. The officers pointed out that Dassault Aviation itself was supposed to carry out offsets obligations, that too worth only Rs 6,500 crore.

"I believe people are misinformed. There is nothing like giving Rs 30,000 crore to any one party. Dassault Aviation alone has to do offsets worth only Rs 6,500 crore. Nothing more than that," Nambiar said when asked if Congress president Rahul Gandhi was right in saying that the Modi government had handed over contracts worth Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani's firm alone.

The IAF vice-chief added that for a company like Dassault Aviation, a contract for 36 planes was a big one and if they did not fulfil the offsets obligations, they were set to lose money in a big way.

Also read — Rafale deal: Rahul Gandhi attacks PM Modi again, says nation's 'chowkidar' has looted Rs 20,000 crore from poor

Asked about his experience of flying the Rafale in France, the IAF deputy chief said, "I just flew the Rafale and got to see the new capabilities that are on offer to the Indian Air Force. I think the aircraft is shaping quite well and all three systems on the plane are performing very well."

Deo said the IAF was in "dire need" of the Rafale planes for enhancing its combat capabilities and if the planes did not come on time, it will create a lot of problems for the service as the squadron strength in the force is critically depleted. Out of the 42 squadrons that the IAF should have, it has got only 31 at the moment.