“We are Not Begging to Give Rafale to Us; HAL Deserves it” – Employees

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi took a special initiative to visit the present and former employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bengaluru on Saturday. Addressing the gathering, Rahul pledged to fight for HAL and promised to do everything to save the state-owned defence manufacturing company.

During his interaction with all HAL associates, Gandhi launched fresh attacks on the Modi government for its decision to drop the state-run aerospace defence company from the Rafale fighter jet deal. The employees who had gathered for an interactive session with Rahul Gandhi, were able to freely and without any fright express their anger against the Centre’s decision to outsource the Rafale jets despite having HAL.

“We are not begging to give the Rafale tender to us. Rather, the HAL deserves it. It has a history of providing the best logistics and technology to the Indian defence. Besides, the deal would have been a boon in generating employment to the Indian youth,” said Sirajuddin, a former employee of HAL.

Congress Chief greeting HAL employees
He even added that,

“United States of America used to import certain defence products manufactured by HAL earlier as well”

Rahul elaborated his thoughts on the Rafale deal arrangement by Modi Government and described HAL as a “strategic asset” in aerospace, adding that the country owed a debt to it. He quoted,

“HAL is a strategic asset in aerospace, not an ordinary or regular company. Rafale is your right. You have the experience to build the plane,” Rahul said at the event organised at Minsk Square near the HAL headquarters.”

Congress Chief also asked the employees how they felt when Rafale was given to a private firm, the collective response was,

“We remember former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his contributions to HAL; they are memorable. We felt let down and annoyed when Rafale was not given to us.”

“It is a sheer disrespect to the HAL. Pakistan had bought Sabre Jets from America, but HAL was the one that stood by and facilitated the Indian Army with advanced fighter jets,” the employees added.

 

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Rahul Gandhi with HAL employees
One of HAL’s employee further alleged that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is also getting more and more privatised in these years.

“Earlier, we have produced highly equipped fighter jets and when we had made MIG-21, Russia had appreciated us,” he added.

Another employee alleged that the Union government is “trying to destroy the state-owned HAL”, adding that the employees’ association of HAL had decided to go on a strike on 22nd October.Rahul’s interaction is part of his onslaught against the Modi government over the Rafale deal in which he alleges HAL had been overlooked in the offsets contracts with French aerospace company Dassault Aviation preferring Anil Ambani’s company.

The Congress party had been accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “snatching jobs of people of Karnataka by taking away the contract from HAL.” 

Modi had announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets after holding talks with then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday has also asked the Narendra Modi government to submit a report with details of the decision-making process to buy 36 Rafale fighters from France by 29th October.

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