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Rafale facts expose the Congress' lies
In the run up to 2019 general election, Congress President Rahul Gandhi is trying to make a Bofors out of the Rafale deal. There have been a lot of allegations and counter allegations by both the Congress and the BJP.

In social media too, there've been a lot of debates on this issue, some supporting the Congress and others supporting the BJP. I was also part of a Faceook debate where I furnished full facts. On one hand I exposed the lies of the Congress while on the other I asked the BJP questions. But as you know, in social media debating parties seldom cede despite the facts. Anyway let me present the facts below.

On 31 January 2012 Dassault Rafale won MMRCA competition to supply 126 aircraft to the Indian Air force with an option of additional 63 aircraft. Out of the 126 aircraft 108 were to be manufactured at HAL and another 18 were to be procured from France in fly away condition.

The Indian Air Force was to face acute shortage of aircraft by 2020, so those immediately 18 flyaway aircraft along with 108 'Made in India' aircraft would have solved the problem for the Indian Air force. The cost of the basic aircraft to be made at HAL facility was negotiated at Rs 526 crore per aircraft whereas 18 flyaway aircraft were negotiated as 1705 crore each. These costs may be noted for comparison in the latter part of the article.

The deal got stuck because Dassault didn't agree to provide warranty on the aircraft that were to be produced by HAL. The dispute continued and at one point of time the negotiations failed during the UPA regime. When the NDA came to power, they tried to find a solution but the disagreement on warranty of Hal produced aircraft continued. Finally, the NDA government cancelled the entire deal. Manohar Parrikar, the then defence minister proposed to acquire Sukhoi Su-30 MKI as an alternative to Rafale aircraft to which Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha disagreed.

Sometime back, the 'critical operational necessity' forced the NDA government to take urgent steps. The Narendra Modi government decided to procure 36 fully built Rafale (against the urgent need of 72) with flyaway condition at the rate of Rs 1646 crore as a government to government deal. In the NDA deal there are two additional missiles METEOR and SCALP. For the 'Make in India' project talks are going on with 'Boeing' and 'Lockheed Martin'. But that will take years to materialise.

Now let's compare apples with apples and not with oranges. You can't compare the price of the 'would be produced by HAL basic aircraft' with the price of fully built, weaponized and flyaway aircraft. Comparison should be made between the negotiated by UPA of Rs 1705 crore per unit with NDA's price of Rs 1646 crore per unit (both to be manufactured at France, fully weaponised and in flyaway condition). Aren't the NDA negotiated prices cheaper and reasonable since the deal includes two additional missiles. I think this is sufficient proof to expose UPA's lies.

Now coming back offset clause. As per the 2005 offset clause all foreign vendors need to invest fifty per cent of the deal in the Indian market. They can buy material; spares etc or invest in R&D. In the present Rafale deal the Indian offset partners have nothing to do with the 36 Rafale aircraft which are to be fully built in France and shall be delivered to India by 2020, where as Dassault's offset partner clause will commence from 2020.

Who are Dassault's offset partners? There are about 100 offset partners. Already deals have been finalised with seventy odd institutions including DRDO, L&T, Mahindra etc. Interestingly, HAL too, is an offset partner in this deal where it is to joint venture with Safran for manufacturing of helicopters.

Now what's in it for Anil Ambani? It's just 3 per cent of the Rs 30000 crore deal, which means Rs 900 crore. Out of the 900 crore, it will supply Rs 850 crore worth of spares for Falcon executive jets and the remaining Rs 50 crore will be for avionics and radars. Shouldn't Rahul Gandhi apologize to the nation for the lies he has been spreading relentlessly?

What should be right questions to ask the Narendra Modi government?

I think it should be why the Modi government didn't renegotiate for the Eurofighter which had finished second in the MMRCA tender. This German company was also ready to divert some of the aircraft from other orders. Even if India values Rafale more than the Eurofighter still mere negotiation with Eurofighter would have put pressure on Dassault to further lower the price. I agree that there's urgent need of aircraft but a delay of another two months wouldn't be that harmful, I guess.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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