BJP attacks Rahul on Rafale remarks, calls him irresponsible

Ravi Shankar Prasad

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The BJP on Monday attacked Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on the ‘secrecy pact’ in the Rafale deal, calling him irresponsible for “misleading Parliament” and for dragging French President Emmanuel Macron into the matter.

It also advised Rahul Gandhi to “do homework and improve understanding” of India’s foreign policy and security issues.

“Rahul Gandhi is irresponsible; he makes false statements in Parliament. He was irresponsible on two fronts: First, by saying there was no confidential agreement (between India and France on the Rafale fighter jet deal); and second, by dragging French President into an internal political debate,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

“This is unfortunate. I have often said that Rahul Gandhi needs to improve his homework. Now I have to add that his understanding of (Indian) foreign policy and national security and strategic concerns also need to be upgraded,” Prasad said.

During the no-confidence debate in Parliament on July 20, Gandhi had said that there was no secrecy pact on the Rafale deal, alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had “lied” to the nation” about it.

“I met the French President and asked him if there was a secrecy pact with India. He told me that no such pact was signed between the two countries. He said that he had no hesitation in saying this and that I can tell this to my country,” Gandhi had said.

Prasad said that the Congress was worried over the “transparent and honest” functioning of the BJP-led government and was hence making allegations about the Rafale deal.

“We can say with complete responsibility that Rahul Gandhi clearly misled the house when he said that there was no confidentiality agreement. His reference to the French President’s conversation was formally denied the same day by the French government,” the Minister said.

He added that sensitive armed forces operations can’t be made public, a fact which was acknowledged in Parliament by A.K. Antony and Pranab Mukherjee, both Ministers in the then UPA government.

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