Congress urged members of armed forces to refuse to be “pawn in the political fight”.

NEW DELHI: Soon after Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said the procurement of Rafale fighter jets will enhance combat capabilities of the Indian forces, the Congress accused the Centre of indulging in the “disgusting and deplorable” acts of “putting forward our armed forces persons” to divert attention from the Opposition allegations on the purchase details of the Rafale deal.

The AICC also said it was not about the quality of Rafale jets that the Congress has been questioning but the price at which they were purchased and the offset contract given to a private firm. Congress urged members of armed forces to refuse to be “pawn in the political fight”.

AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, “An attempt is made to mislead you. Who has ever said that Rafale aircraft is not a good aircraft-?..The question is what is the (purchasing) price? The question is - why is there no manufacturing in India? Question is why is there no value addition under the offset? What has happened to Make in India? These things will never be answered. The question is why does an entity supposedly tethering on the brink of bankruptcy chosen as a favoured one for what is a Rs 30,000-crore direct offset contract with the life-cycle of 50 years involving Rs 1 lakh crore on their own admission or the prospectus of that company. These questions you will be met with a silent wall or with other questions but never answers..”

Objecting to “putting forward” members of armed forces like this, Singhvi further said, “We respect them, be it the soldiers, be it the Chief. In the political arena, I do not want to drag them despite the worst provocation It does not, it is not at all apposite, and it is not as per convention...”