Nirmala Sitharaman Admits Veracity of Rafale Note, Says What About NAC and Sonia Gandhi?
Don’t ask us.
Responding to the media reports that the Defence Ministry had raised strong objections to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) running “parallel negotiations” with the French side and weakening the MoD’s position in the negotiations, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed in the Lok Sabha on Friday, February 8 that the Defence Ministry’s note is indeed, genuine.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha: Then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar ji replied to that MoD note that remain calm, nothing to worry, everything is going alright. Now, what do you call the NAC led by Sonia Gandhi's interference in earlier PMO? What was that? pic.twitter.com/jB4z5kJCd3
— ANI (@ANI) February 8, 2019
According to The Hindu, “The Defence Secretary’s firm opposition was recorded on November 24, 2015 on a note prepared by S. K. Sharma, Deputy Secretary (Air-II), and endorsed by the Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Air) and the Director General (Acquisition) in the Ministry.”
Sitharaman’s response that then defence minister Manohar Parrikar had replied to the MoD asking them to remain calm, establishes the veracity of the documents cited in The Hindu report. Failing to defend the Narendra Modi government’s position, Sitharaman merely targeted the opposition saying, “what do you call the NAC led by Sonia Gandhi’s interference in earlier PMO? What was that?”, ANI reported.
The Defence Ministry had reportedly said that the PMO’s position was “contradictory to the stand taken by MoD and the negotiating team.” The then Defence Secretary, G. Mohan Kumar, had written to Parrikar saying, “RM (Raksha Mantri) may pl. see. It is desirable that such discussions be avoided by the PMO as it undermines our negotiating position seriously,” reported The Hindu.