“First Rafale Fighter Arrives In India By September”: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Nirmala Sitharaman said that the 36th Rafale will be delivered by 2022.

New Delhi:

India will get its first Rafale fighter aircraft from France in September, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the parliament today, adding that timely purchase of ammunition is a priority for the country. "National security is important, no matter who is in power. We cannot run away from facts," she said.

The defence minister was answering questions in the parliament on the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal between India and Rafale manufacturer Dassault.

The minister said in the new deal, the delivery of the 36 aircraft has been advanced by five months. "The inter-government agreement was signed in September 2016, and the first aircraft will be delivered in September 2019 and the last in 2022," said Ms Sitharaman.

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After accusing the Congress-led government of creating a "deadlock" in the deal, she said, "There is a difference between defence dealings and dealing in defence. We don't do defence dealings. We deal in defence with national security as a priority."

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