Amid the ongoing controversy over the Rafale deal, a report published in The Hindu quotes an internal Defence Ministry note and suggests that there were “parallel negotiations” conducted by the PMO with the French side.
The report further states that the MoD had objected to these negotiations which purportedly “weakened” India’s negotiating position in the Rafale deal.
The note, dated 24 November 2015, was undersigned by the then Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar, and Deputy Secretary SK Sharma, and was also brought to the attention of the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
“We may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays [parleys] with the officers of French Government.”
Defence Ministry note cited by The Hindu
The note further said that in case the PMO is not confident of the outcome, then a revised “modality of negotiations” led by the PMO could be adopted at an “appropriate level”.
‘MoD Protested Against PMO’s Contradictory Stance’
The official document, as cited by the daily, reveal that the Ministry of Defence has protested against the contradictory stance taken by the PMO.
G Mohan, the then defence secretary, wrote in the note, “RM may pl. see. It is desirable that such discussions be avoided by the PMO as it undermines our negotiating position seriously.”