Monday, November 20, 2017

Opposition questions Union Government on Rafale Deal

Finally congress got something solid to allege.Indian Airforce needed planes urgently to replace old jets.So MMRCA tender was flaunted during AK Antony's time.The cost was 54000 crores (according to then rupee euro conversion rate) for 126 planes in 2012.Each plane would cost 438 crores then (530 crores at present conversion rate).The buying process that started in 2001 selected Dassault Rafale aircraft after all tests and procedures as the suitable aircraft.The plan included technology transfer and manufacting of the multirole aircrafts by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). The french did not find it easy to work with the HAL.So they tied up with Reliance in 2012.Indian Government was not interested in involving Reliance in to the deal.Then the congress government talked with the french and they agreed to involve HAL and invest 1500 crores for Reliance to make wings of the aircraft.UPA lost the elections in 2014.By then the cost doubled and new Modi Government found it uneconomical to buy the planes at higher price. Modi talked with the french government, scrapped the deal and made a new one.New deal is nothing great.India will purchase 36 fighters for 59830 crores.So one fighter would cost Rs 1639 crores each.New deal includes additional missiles and accessories but the HAL went out of the picture and the place of Reliance is cemented.But the delivery period was not that great.First set on planes will arrive only in 2019.Since India is buying only 36 fighters , technology transfer also does not takes place.The Union Government changed the FDI rules in 2016 for allowing Dassault to invest 49 percent in Reliance.Given the nature in which defense deals are happening in India, Congress is making the opportunity to bring attention to this deal and score brownie points.But India cannot afford scrapping this deal again since russian planes in our squadrons are retiring soon.

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