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Congress questions high cost of US drone deal; corruption in Opp party’s DNA, says BJP

Source : The Indian Express

Congress questions high cost of US drone deal; corruption in Opp party’s DNA, says BJP
Stepping up the attack against BJP, Congress leader Pawan Khera said that “PM Modi’s expensive hobbies are costing the country dearly.” This comes in context of the Defence Acquisition Council’s approval for the procurement of armed Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from US.

Congress questions high cost of US drone deal; corruption in Opp party’s DNA, says BJP

The Congress on Wednesday raised questions on the multi-crore India-US drone deal, alleging that the government is procuring 31 MQ-9B Predator UAV drones for a higher price and demanded complete transparency regarding the contract. The main opposition party claimed that several countries have brought MQ-9B Predator Drones or very similar variants at a lower price than India.

The BJP reacted sharply to the Congress stand on the deal saying that “doing scams in defence deals has become a part of the opposition party’s DNA and it cannot see beyond corruption”.

Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters, Congress media department head Pawan Khera claimed that the US Air Force bought MQ-9 drone, which is a superior quality version, at USD 56.5 million per drone while the UK Air Force bought MQ-9B drone at USD 12.5 million per drone in 2016.

“The Australian government was supposed to buy the drones from the US by paying USD 137.58 million per MQ-9 drone, but later cancelled the deal because they found it too costly. Spain also bought these drones by paying USD 46.75 million per REAPER MQ-9 drone. Taiwan bought the same by paying USD 54.40 million per SkyGuardian MQ-9B drone. Italy and Netherlands both bought it for USD 82.50 million per drone. Germany bought it for USD 17 million per drone.

But the Modi government is making India pay USD 110 million per drone – the most expensive buy for any country,” he said.

The Congress asked several questions to the government.

“Why was there no Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting to approve the drone deal? Why are we paying the highest price for a drone, which does not have AI integration?

When the Air Force had reservations about skyrocketing prices of these drones, then what was the tearing hurry to have a deal?” Khera said, adding, “We demand complete transparency in this deal. India needs answers to the crucial questions.”

Meanwhile, the BJP hit back at the Congress for raising questions on the India-US drone deal, saying doing scams in defence deals has become a part of the opposition party’s DNA and it cannot see beyond corruption.

Party chief spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni said defence and strategic experts have unanimously welcomed the decision to purchase predator drones during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to the US. “While benefits of the purchase are visible to the world, the question is why is the Congress criticising the agreement? The reason is that a habitual thief sees a thief in others,” he said.

From the alleged jeep scam of 1952 to the suspected corruption in the purchase of Bofors guns, submarines and the AgustaWestland deal, the list of scams perpetrated by the Congress is long, he alleged.

People can see the fingerprints of “father, uncle and brother-in-law” in all of them, he said in a swipe at the Gandhi family. Congress questions high cost of US drone deal; corruption in Opp party’s DNA, says BJP Congress questions high cost of US drone deal; corruption in Opp party’s DNA, says BJP Congress questions high cost of US drone deal; corruption in Opp party’s DNA, says BJP Congress questions high cost of US drone deal; corruption in Opp party’s DNA, says BJP Congress questions high cost of US drone deal; corruption in Opp party’s DNA, says BJP Congress questions high cost of US drone deal; corruption in Opp party’s DNA, says BJP IgMp

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