Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi accused the Modi government of having double standards in defence deals citing the Defence Ministry’s reported rejection of a Russian offer to manufacture AK-103 assault rifles with an Indian private defence manufacturer.
In a statement issued on 5 September, Singhvi cited media reports stating that the government had advised Russia that its firm Kalashnikov Concern should tie up with the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) if it wants its proposal to be considered by the Defence Ministry.
He asked why the Modi government did not apply the same yardstick to the Dassault Rafale fighter jet deal with France.
“Modi Govt has reportedly advised Russia that its firm Kalashnikov Concern should tie up with the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) if it wants its proposal to manufacture the AK-103 assault rifles in India to be considered by the Defence Ministry. Why did it not apply the same principle in the Rafale Scam? Why did Modi Govt not advise Dassault Aviation to negotiate further with government run HAL?” asked Singhvi
Russia reportedly intends to jointly manufacture Rs 3,000 crore worth of 7.62×39 mm calibre assault rifles for the Indian Army.
Quoting the comment of “an official source to a widely read newspaper”, Singhvi said that “if Russia wants a government-to-government deal, it cannot suggest private sector companies for a JV”.
“MoD last month rejected also said that if the Russians want to partner with a private Indian entity, they must come through the ‘tender route’. Why was this same principle not applied then during the Rafale Scam? Is the Modi Govt lying in the AK-rifle deal or in the Rafale deal?” questioned Singhvi.
He demanded that the Centre clears the air about “this doublespeak” and said that the Modi government has managed virtually given up on ‘Make in India’ in Defence.