Congress president Rahul Gandhi today described HAL as a “strategic asset” in aerospace, saying the country owed a debt to it, as he stepped up his campaign against the Modi government over the Rafale fighter jet deal. Reaching out to present and former employees of the defence PSU at an interaction with them here, Gandhi said, work done by HAL for the country was tremendous and the country owed debt to it for “protecting us” and creating a scientific vision. “Gandhi’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, which has been accusing the government of benefiting the Reliance Defence Ltd of Anil Ambani from the deal, has also been demanding answers on why the state-run aerospace major HAL was not involved in the deal as finalised during the UPA. Gandhi had been saying that had HAL been selected in place of Reliance Defence it could have generated employment to scores of unemployed youth in the state.
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