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Public Forum: Truth of Rafale

Rafael Deal has been in discussion for the past few months due to political reasons. On this dispute, the Congress and the Modi government are face-to-face. Making this issue a deal between India and the French government, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has termed the deal by the central government as a big Rafale robbery. At the same time, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has asked 15 questions from Rahul Gandhi while congressional allegations are baseless. After asking Jaitley’s questions, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to investigate the Raphael deal. According to the finance minister, Rahul Gandhi has mentioned seven different prices in different speeches regarding the Rafael Deal. Four or five different prices have been reported from Rs. 520 crores to Rs. 700 crores.
  • The Air Force needed at least 42 Ladaku Squadron aircraft to increase its military capacity, but its actual capacity was reduced to just 34 Squadron. 
  • Therefore, the first proposal for the purchase of 126 fighter aircraft on the demand of Air Force was given by Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA government. This proposal was further extended by the Congress government. 
  • Defense Purchase Council, headed by then Defense Minister A.K. Antony, had approved the purchase of 126 aircraft in August 2007. From here it started the process of bidding. 
  • After this, RFP of 126 aircraft was finally released. Obviously this was an important issue related to national security which was ignored for a long time.
What is political dispute? 
The issue of controversy in this deal is that which Indian government has done a cheap deal for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), is the Congress-led UPA Government or the BJP-led NDA government?
  • The Congress has alleged that the number of planes has been reduced from 126 to 36 by the Prime Minister. 
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), who has experience in making defense equipment, was removed and Reliance was introduced as an offset partner who has no experience in this field.
  • Before the deal, the Cabinet Committee on Security Affairs (CCS) has not been approved. According to the Defense Procurement Process, it is compulsory for all the deals above Rs 3,000 crore to be approved by CCS.
  • The Congress claims that the price of procurement does not include the 2008 Indo-French Confidential Agreement. The agreement has also not mentioned which information should be classified.
  • The Congress alleges that this deal will benefit Anil Ambani Group, who was selected by the Dassault Company to execute the offset contract. 
  • On March 9, 2018, President of France Immanuel Macron said in an interview that when there is a sensitive deal between India and France, we can not disclose all the details for business reasons.
  • The Modi government has termed it as a cheap and safe deal compared to the UPA. Referring to the government documents prepared by the Ministry of Defense and the Indian Air Force, recent reports have also claimed that the Modi government saved 59 crores rupees on each jet compared to the UPA.
  • But if this fact was true then what kind of situation is preventing the government from sharing it with the opposition and the Parliament?
  • Opposition raises the question that if the government has saved thousands of rupees, then what is the problem in making the data public? 
  • Congress leaders say that the UPA was paying Rs 54,000 crore for 126 aircraft, while the Modi government is giving 58,000 crore for only 36 aircraft. 
  • The Congress alleged that a plane costing Rs 1555 crores, while the Congress was only buying for 428 crores.
What was the agreement and why was Raffel selected?
  • This deal is part of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, which was launched by the Ministry of Defense to eliminate the difference between the Indian Air Force (IAF) Light Combat Aircraft and Sukhoi.
  • America’s Boeing F / A-18E / F Super Hornet, Dasault Rafael of France, UK’s Eurofighter, America’s Lockheed Martin F-16 Falcon, Mikhoyan MiG-35 of Russia and Saab as well as Sweden’s 39 Gripen aircraft in the competency of MMRCA Were included. 
  • Between 6 fighter jets, Rafael was chosen because Rafael’s price was much lower than the other jets. Apart from this, its maintenance was also more economical.
  • When the Narendra Modi government was formed in 2014, he started again in this direction. During the visit of the Prime Minister to France in 2015, the deal was signed between India and France to purchase this aircraft. 
  • In this agreement, India has agreed to get the aircraft ready for the flight of 36 Rafale aircraft Fly-Away, as soon as possible. 
  • According to the agreement, the two countries agreed on an inter-governmental agreement for the supply conditions of the aircraft.
  • According to the agreement, the supply of aircraft was to be within the timelines determined by the requirements of the IAF, and the supply of all the systems and weapons related to the aircraft is also to be conformed to the standards set by the Air Force. 
  • It has been said that franchise will have the responsibility of maintaining the planes for a long time. After receiving the approval from Cabinet of Security Affairs, the two countries have IGA in 2016. 
  • About 18 months after the signing of the agreement, it has been said that the supply of aircraft will be started, i.e. after 18 months, the first Rafael fighter aircraft will be sent from France in France.
UPA versus NDA: Which deal is better?
It can be said clearly that there was no agreement on this deal during the UPA government, so it is difficult to say which government has done a better deal. The fact is that the deal was delayed by the UPA Government and later it stopped due to several reasons,
  1. There is no consensus on technology transfer ‘

  3. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the French jet manufacturer’s reluctance to give the responsibility of quality control of the production of 108 aircraft.

  5. Dassault had enough of 30 million human hours for assembling 108 aircraft in India, while HAL sought its double time, causing the cost of the aircraft to increase.

  7. According to 2011 reports, the price fixed by Desmond, per aircraft was Rs 740 crores, while India wanted to get at least 20 percent cheaper rate.

  9. After all, elections were held both in France and India and by changing government, the deal was attempted to bring the deal to the final stage after waiting for nearly 15 years.
  • It was decided after the formation of the NDA government under the leadership of Narendra Modi that there was an agreement between governments in case of purchase of aircraft.
  • Instead of constructing aircraft under TOT in India, the government decided to purchase fully prepared 36 aircraft.
Why is there a huge difference between the two governments in the Raphael deal? 
  • The huge difference in prices in both deals is because, as the UPA had decided to deal with Dasault and HLA in 122 domestic aircrafts and 18 full export aircraft.
  • At the same time, the NDA government has decided to deal with the planes prepared for flying 36 planes. The technology and other capacities in which there is a lot better and sophisticated than previously exported aircraft.
  • The government claims that not only air-to-air, air-to-ground visual range weaponry, but also a radar for high-altitude airfields, compared to the first aircrafts in these aircraft. There will also be capabilities which will be held by India only, but not other countries.
  • Along with this, the contract has been prepared for seven years for the cooperation of all 36 aircraft. This period was only 5 years in the previous contract, for only 18 planes. 
  • Dassault has provided guarantee of 75 percent Fleet Opportunity in this deal completed by NDA.
  • Although it is not possible to compare at the micro level between the MMRCA deal offered by the UPA government, which the BJP has procured 36 Rafale aircraft to its peak. The reason for this is related to the nature, dependency and services of these two deals.
Raphael Deal: Important Facts
  • The Raphael French Twin-Engine is a multi-roll fighter jet capable of completing a wide range of short and long distance missions, including land and sea tacks, reconnaissance, high precision attacks and prevention of atomic attacks.
  • Rafael Jet is considered to be the world’s most powerful combat jet.
  • These aircraft were developed for the French Air Force and Navy.
  • Raphael was inducted into the French Navy in 2004 and French Air Force in 2006.
  • It is manufactured by the French company Dassault Aviation.
  • It is a multirol fighter which is a twin engine, two seater, canard wing aircraft, its maximum speed is 2000 km / h.
  • It is powered by the French snecma M88 Turbofan jet engine.
  • It is capable of lifting weights of up to 9500 kilograms.
  • It does not require more than 400 meters runway.
  • Rafael’s scanning range is 145 km.
  • Its radar is able to simultaneously handle more than two goals.
  • The first Omni-roll Rafael Fighter jet will arrive in India in 2019, while all 36 fighter jets will be handed over to India by April 2022.
  • India started the purchase process of 226 Medium-Multi Roll Combat Aircraft in 2017.
  • India-French Joint Statement for the purchase of 36 Rafael Aircraft in April 2015 was released.
  • The UPA Government stalled the deal for more than a decade by citing national security.
  • According to the government, this deal is cheaper up to 20 percent compared to the UPA government.
  • The issue of the Rafael Deal was also raised in the monsoon session of Parliament.
  • India signed a deal with the French Government on September 23, 2016 for the purchase of 36 Rafael.
  • The government says that the questions raised by the Congress over Rafael are completely false.
Is India paying more for this deal?
This is the simplest and most complex question in the entire dispute. First of all, we should consider whether we really need these planes. In fact, according to need, 36 aircraft are extremely low. As far as their price is concerned, this procurement process will certainly have been done in accordance with the prescribed criteria. 
  • The government will have to think before thinking ahead of the deal, experts will have taken the opinion and they have been advised to go ahead with this process and safety capacity should also be considered.
  • According to the agreement signed in 2016, India will pay Rs 58,000 crores for 36 Rafale jets. That is, the cost per jet is more than Rs 1,600 crore. 
  • It appears that the NDA deal would be more costlier than the United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress, which was negotiating at the cost.
  • According to the deal made by the UPA government for the purchase of 126 aircraft, Rs 54,000 crore was to be spent. While the NDA Government made a deal with only 36 aircraft for Rs 58,000 crore.
  • According to the requirements of India, the equipment which has been added to the aircraft, due to the UPA government conditions, every rafael jet costs Rs 1705 crores, while the NDA government has to pay a price of Rs 1646 crores on 36 aircraft. .
  • A large part of the cost is being told about the equipment required for India. This includes the ability to fly from high-altitude areas like Leh to better infrared search and track sensor and electronic jammer pod.
  • The government says that the deal is not only cheap but it also has added a performance guarantee clause with modern technology in planes.
The work of procurement of defense equipments in the UPA government has been quite lagging, which is being seen on the strength of the army. Because of this, the Air Force is now scared of the tightening of resources. The Air Force is undergoing a bad phase, with the number of modern planes to be purchased to be limited to 36 and reaching the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft Program with Russia.
The NDA government has taken quick decisions to enhance military efficiency and has taken better steps to meet the strategic needs. The government has removed the middlemen and made an agreement at the government level so that there is no scope for any kind of corruption. But giving priority to a private company in place of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the Raphael deal certainly raises many questions. Some experts are also looking at it by connecting the country’s corporate houses with the Cold War. Regardless, Rahul Gandhi could not prove any kind of corruption in the Raphael deal, but it would be better for the government to consider any solution so that the attempt to create an atmosphere of suspicion on the Rafael deal could not be successful. With all, No credibility can be found on the credibility of the Prime Minister and the country’s defense needs also continue to be fulfilled on time. But the responsibility of Rahul Gandhi is not less as the matter of the privacy contract in 2008 came out authentic, then the Congress could be a victim of a bad situation.
Updated: January 3, 2019 — 5:58 am

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