Steering clear of the political slugfest over the Rafale deal, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Thursday said it was not interested in the French fighter jet project offsets anymore and asserted it was not being ignored by government.
The Defence sector public sector undertaking also said the political fight over Rafale has not affected its morale and business prospects.
“Yes, we do feel bad when there are bad things said, but it has not affected us. Our staff and middle management are more enthusiastic. This does not affect our business either,” HAL chairman and managing director R Madhavan said. He also said the company was not interested in “offsets and direct purchases”.
On the issue of the HAL’s man-hours for manufacturing the Rafale, Madhavan said there is always a learning curve and there should not be any comparison of HAL’s first aircraft with the 100th aircraft of others.
India has signed an inter-governmental agreement with France for purchase of 36 off-the-shelf Dassault Rafale twin-engine fighters, dropping the earlier proposal to buy 18 jets with 108 others being assembled in India by HAL.
The HAL chief also brushed aside the remarks of Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh on Mirage 2000 crash, saying the incident was not the way it was reported in the media and he would await completion of court of inquiry.
Madhavan rejected the contention that HAL was being ignored, as alleged by the Opposition, particularly Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who has been accusing the Modi government of sidelining the PSU and favouring Anil Ambani’s firm. Asked if the PSU was being treated badly or ignored, Madhavan said if that was the case the company would not have got a lot of orders.
However, things would look up after the announcement of the new budget, he said, adding the company was working on utilising the working capital available. Srivatsa also said the HAL was having a lot of export clients who are happy with it.
(Source : News18)