India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore, nearly one- and-half years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the proposal during a visit to Paris.
The Congress had attacked the government for not seeking transfer of technology as part of the deal to procure the jets.
The UPA government was negotiating the original 126- fighter aircraft deal but it could not fructify.
Sitharaman said that the request for proposal (RFP) for 126 medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) was formally withdrawn in June 2015 as the contract negotiations had reached an impasse.
"To meet the critical operational necessity of the Indian Air Force, 36 Rafale were procured through the IGA (Inter- Governmental Agreement)," she said.
The defence minister said that state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has no role in the Rafale deal.
She said, "To meet requirement of fighter aircraft of the IAF, induction of the balance of 272 Su-30 MKI aircraft from HAL is under process".
Asked about the time by which the offset commitments of France towards setting up a research and development in the country as part of Rafale deal would be realised, she said the current policy permits the vendors to provide the details either at the time of seeking offset credits or one year prior to discharge of offset obligations.
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