New Delhi, Jul 29: The Congress on Wednesday welcomed the arrival of Rafale fighter jets in India, but questioned the delay and their high cost.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asked why each Rafale jet was purchased by the government at a cost of Rs 1,670 crore while the erstwhile Congress-led dispensation struck a deal for Rs 526 crore, and why the offset contract was given to a “bankrupt” private firm instead of the public-sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). “Congratulations to IAF for Rafale. Meanwhile, can the Government of India (GOI) answer: Why each aircraft costs Rs 1670 Crores instead of Rs 526 Crores? Why 36 aircraft were bought instead of 126? Why was bankrupt Anil (Ambani’s firm) given a Rs 30,000 Crores contract instead of HAL,” he asked on Twitter.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said every nationalist should question why the Rafale aircraft are ‘Made in France’ and not in India and why was their arrival delayed by five years. “We welcome Rafale in India. Congratulations to the brave fighters of the Air Force. Every nationalist should ask why each Rafale has purchased for Rs 1670 crore instead of Rs 526 crore. Why only 36 Rafales instead of 126 are being purchased. Why are they ‘Made in France’ and not ‘Made in India’. Why is there a delay of five years,” Surjewala said in a tweet in Hindi.

India on Wednesday received its first batch of new combat-proven fighter aircraft in two decades with the arrival of five Rafale jets, giving the country’s air power a strategic edge in the midst of a bitter border row with China in eastern Ladakh and frayed ties with Pakistan.

The aircraft, having an undisputed track record and considered one of the most potent combat jets globally, landed at the Ambala Air Force base at around 3:10 PM after covering a distance of 7,000 km from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux.