With the government under attack from the Opposition on the Rafale issue, top security brass on Wednesday briefed the Union Council of Ministers on the fighter aircraft deal with France in a bid to provide the leaders with facts to counter the allegations being levelled against it.
Sources said National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra made a detailed presentation on various aspects of the deal in the meeting, which lasted more than two-and-a-half hours.
The ministers were informed that it was a deal between two governments involving no private party, leaving little scope for corruption.
The security brass also highlighted the aircraft’s capability which would strengthen the Indian Air Force and make the fighter jets an asset for it.
Opposition parties led by the Congress have been attacking the Modi government over the deal, alleging that it was struck at an exorbitant price and benefited an Indian businessman at the cost of the government-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
The presentation in the meeting also underscores Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to take all his allies, who are represented in the council of ministers, on board as the government works to counter the opposition on the issue with the Lok Sabha election being less than eight months away.
Separate presentations were also made on the government’s ambitious ‘Ayushman Bharat’ mission, a health insurance cover for the poor, and ‘Swachh Bharat’ (clean India) project.