Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamare not only defended the Rafale deal but slammed the Opposition parties for running a misinformation campaign, in an interview with Sanjay Jog. Bhamare said the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has not been deprived of any order as it was having work orders worth Rs 1 lakh crore.

Opposition has stepped up attack on Centre over Rafale deal...

We are in election mode, and parties running a campaign over Rafale have certainly some agenda. I have full sympathy with them, but then you cannot mislead the nation.

People have full faith in the Modi government. We have gone ahead with the inter-government agreement as per norms, observing total transparency. It is not a decision taken hurriedly. When PM visited France in 2015 the joint statement was issued on India's deal for 36 Rafale jets in fly away conditions with better terms than the UPA government's in terms of price, delivery schedule and maintenance.

Is government confident about the deadline of 2019 for the delivery of Rafale jets?

We will start getting the Rafale jets from 2019 onwards and by 2022 all 36 jets will be delivered to us. We have planned things in such a way that 36 Rafale jets and 126 Tejas aircraft will be delivered in a time-bound manner.

Opposition claims HAL was excluded to favour Reliance Defence. What is your take?

HAL is having work order of a minimum of Rs 1 lakh crore. Therefore it is wrong to say that HAL has been deprived of any such order. It is a wrong propaganda. HAL is preoccupied, having much more than it wanted.

What is your taken on S400 air defence missile system deal?

It is the country's right to go for the right product at the right cost and at the right time. It is a choice, has nothing to do with the foreign policy.

Despite a push for Make In India, the country still continues to be the largest importer. How the government is addressing this issue?

It is true India is the largest importer of defence equipment, which is a cause of worry. To sustain defence industry, whether it is public or private, we need to export. If you see the world scenario, the total defence export is worth $3 trillion.

Our government through Make in India initiative is trying to harness the capabilities of both the public and private sector. If you want to be the world leader in the defence sector, we have to be self-reliant. Therefore, the government has taken a number of initiatives in the last four years to boost defence manufacturing and exports.


On S400 air defence missile system deal with Russia, Minister Subhash Bhamare said that it is a choice, and has nothing to do with the foreign policy. “It is India’s right to go for the right product at the right cost and at the right time,” he said.