Rafale Fighter Jets Deal Explained

In April 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a deal with
Dassault, the French aircraft builder, and integrator to buy 126 Rafale
fighter jets for $10.2 billion (Rs.54,000 crore). The deal included 126
aircraft, 18 of them in fly-away condition and the rest of them were to
be made in India by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in
Bengaluru by transfer of technology.
However, both India and France witnessed national elections and a
change in government while the negotiations were still going on. The
Modi-led government rowed back from the commitment of the
former UPA government and reduced the number from 126 to 36
‘ready to fly’ Rafale fighter jets. According to sources, the price of
one jet is 740 crores and India wants them for at least 20 percent
lesser cost.
Finally, in January 2016, India confirmed the order of 36 Rafale
fighter jets in defense deal with France. In September 2016, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi signed an Inter-governmental agreement
with France, dubbed as ‘Rafale Deal’, in which India will pay Rs
58,000 crore for 36 off -the- shelf Dassault Rafale twin-engine
fighters.
In November 2016, a controversy sprung up when the opposition
Congress accused the government of causing ‘insurmountable loss’
to the taxpayers money by signing an exorbitant deal. Opposition
Congress has also accused the government of choosing Reliance over
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. to benefit the private firm though it did
not have any experience in the aerospace sector.
Terming the Rafale deal as “the country’s largest defense scam”
senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan said it “severely compromised”
national security. He said a debt-ridden company like Reliance
securing the deal after the NDA government came to power is
questionable. “It (reducing the number of aircrafts from 126 to 36)

broke the backbone of IAF (Indian Air Force) besides looting the
public exchequer”, he added.
“The government should immediately agree for a JPC probe and put
all the papers before it. There is no [element] of national security [as
being claimed by the government]. They only want to hide the huge
scam in defense purchase”, Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan
further added.
Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan also attacked finance minister
Arun Jaitley and Defense Minister Nirmala Seetharaman for trying to
cover up the scam by ‘lying’ deeper to save themselves.
The delivery of Rafale fighter jets is scheduled to begin from
September,2019.

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