Congress demands transparency in India-US drone deal
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said that "during his state visit to the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a deal to procure 31 Predator drones"
Days after India signed a $3 billion deal with the US to procure 31 MQ-9B Predator UAV drones, the Congress on Wednesday demanded complete transparency into the agreement and also questioned the Centre about the price which it claims is four times higher than compared to other nations.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said that "during his state visit to the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a deal to procure 31 Predator drones".
But he added that "we fear what happened with the Rafale deal is being repeated with the Predator agreement".
Questioning the price of the Predator drones, Khera said: "What other countries are buying at less than four times, India is buying 31 predator drones at $3 billion."
He said that for the whopping price tag, the Defence Ministry had to release an official PIB clarification and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had to clarify that on record.
"But the people of India need answers on the process," Khera said, adding that that these drones are of outdated technology and being bought for four times higher price, that too after putting Rs 1,500 crore in DRDO for RUSTOM and Ghatak series drones.
He questioned that why no Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as reported by several news outlets, to have given a nod to General Electric manufacturing F-414 jet engines in India through 100 per cent manufacturing route in collaboration with HAL on June 14 but interestingly, there was no green signal given by CCS to the $ 3 billion drone deal with the US.
The Congress asked the government that why no CCS meeting was.held to decided on the predator drone procurement, why higher prices were being paid for these drones.
Khera further asked that when the Indian Air Force (IAF) was having issues with higher prices then what was the urgency for the drone deal with the US.
He also said that IAF has a requirement of 18 drones then why the 31 drone deal.
The Congress leader also questioned what is the relation of GE Atomic CEO with people in government.
"Complete transparency should be brought in the drone deal. Modi government has been known for putting national security in danger," Khera demanded.