Politicking: The controversial Rafale Deal

India and France

India and France relationship has been there from the colonial era with France maintaining a colonial presence in the subcontinent with Puducherry being one of its major strongholds.

Indo- Franc strategic partnership took shape in 1998 in the areas that include defense, counter-terrorism, nuclear energy and space. 

France’s constant support for India regarding its permanent membership of the UNSC is a foolproof demonstration of the strong chemistry. The fact that France was the only supporter of India’s nuclear tests at Pokhran

France has been a major supplier of defense armaments to India as we fall way below satisfactory thresholds of defense production.

French made Mirage 2000 were used extensively in the Kargil war of 1999 for laser bombing the Pakistani forces. 

The biggest and the most important deal that India ever made with France is the deal of Purchasing 36 Rafale jets keeping in mind the urgent need of upgrading India attack power in order maintain equilibrium with growing China and check its military dominance over the Asian subcontinent.

Dassault Rafale

Dassault Rafale literally meaning “Gust of Wind ” or ” Burst of Fire ” in a more military sense is a twin-engine multi-role fighter aircraft designed and built by French company Dassault Aviation. 

Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale surpasses the capabilities of most of the existing fleet. With its “omnirole” capabilities, it is the perfect beast to carry out air-to-ground and air-to-air and deep strike missions as well as air support for troops on the ground. 

Of a moderate size , yet extremely powerful, super agile and very discrete, it is perfect for the Indian armada.The Rafale was selected for the Indian Airforce in 2012 being the lowest bidder.

Initial purchase

Initially, it was decided for 126 Rafale fighter jets, of 18 to be delivered in proper flyaway conditions and the rest of 108 to be manufactured in India at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The deal was initially estimated to be worth $10.2 billion (Rs 54,000 crore).

The controversy

Recent public debates have created worst situations for deal to happen, with the opposition continuously discrediting the deal and calling it a worst possible scam, with the prime minister being publicly blamed. This has become somewhat of INC’s only agenda for the upcoming general elections.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has attacked prime minister Narendra Modi for alleged ” corruption in the Rafale deal “, saying NDA government has agreed to pay ₹1,600 crore an aircraft against the ₹540 crore in the now-abrogated deal with Dassault. 

 

The whole issue has become multi-dimensional. Even Anil Ambani has not remained untouched by the charges that everything was done in order to favor this particular businessman and clear his debts of Rs. 45,000 crore debt.  

Though such allegations have been denied by him stating that all the jets will be produced in France itself and no single component will be manufactured by Reliance.

 

 

The government’s stance is clear on this issue that the new deal is the best possible and the jets have been acquired at a cheaper rate compared to what the UPA had arrived at. Whatever be the political benefits or losses of this debate, arguments devoid of merit have spoiled the Nation’s image as Nation must debate while staying with decency and facts. Accountability to the Nation must be the priority, on which no one compromises should be considered.

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