India has Pakistan to its west and China to its East. So when there is a war like condition India should have the potential to fight on both the fronts at the same time. To be able to fight on both fronts we need 42-45 squadrons of Fighter Jets and each squadron has 16-18 jets each. So the Indian Air Forces continuously demanded the Government to purchase new Fighter Jets to increase its potential. According to a report India has only 34 squadrons, out of which only 31 are in working condition. Also it is important to note that these squadrons contain 11 squadrons of Sukhoi 30 MKI. These are the latest fighter jets in our Air Force. Other jets in the Air Force are either getting upgraded or getting retired. Till 2020 It is expected that around 14 squadrons will get retired. So till 2020 Air Force will have total 20 plus 3 more squadrons of Sukhoi 30 MKI, which will be made and given to the Air Forces by HAL(Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) till 2020. So this total 23 Squadrons are around half the estimated potential. So the Indian Air Forces continuously forced the Government to purchase new Fighter Jets to increase its potential.
What is Rafale Deal?
In 2000 Government decided to purchase 126 Miraj 2000 Jets, but later this deal was changed. And they decided to purchased 126 MMRCA( Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft). In 2007 decided to purchase 126 MMRCA, for which Manmohan Singh announced a RFP (Request For Proposal). According to this proposal all the Air Craft Companies in the world had to explain their model with all its features in a PPT. This was well known around the world as the Indian-MMRCA tender. This deal was estimated around 1 Lakh 26 thousand Crore Rupees. It was renowned as the Mother of all Defense Deal in the World. All the Air Craft manufacturing Companies in the world gave their presentation in response to the RFP. A number of jets were assessed and in 2011 two Fighter gets were selected, one was the EuroFighter Typhoon and other was The Rafale of Dassault. In 2012 Finally Indian Government gave L1 bidder to Dassault Aviation. L1 bidder is the least bidder and finally conversation started with them on Rafale Deal. According to the deal India wanted 18 Jets to be delivered in the Flyover condition. And other 108 jets to be made in India by the Dassault in partnership with the HAL(Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). one most important point of the deal was that India wanted Dassault to take the quality control responsibility of the 108 jets to be made by the HAL. Talks were going on between Dassault and HAL. But nothing went okay as Dassault did not want to take the responsibility of the jets made by HAL in India. Also there were differences in the expenses of both the Companies. Due to this, the deal couldn’t take place till 2014.
In 2014 also the talks continued between Dassault and Modi Govt. In April 2015 PM Modi went to France and in a press conference he declared that India will purchase 36 Rafale Jets through France Government. So, on 30 July 2015 the MMRCA tender was finally withdrawn. And it was cleared that now the deal is not with the Dassault but with the France Government.
Why is there Controversy around this Deal?
As per the opposition there are various changes in the deal on which there are few allegations by the opposition on the Government. We will discuss these Allegations one by one.
1. Less number of Jets : As per the UPA there were 126 jets proposed whereas NDA’s deal has only 36 jets to be delivered in the fly way condition. As per the Press conference from the Govt, they said that 36 jets will be received in fly way condition and others will be manufactured in India with the help if its offset partner.
2. 2-3 times more pay to the Dassault: As per the opposition Modi Govt’s estimated cost of the deal is 60,000 Crores which is thrice the estimated cost of the UPA’s deal. Now Opposition demanded an answer on this increased cost. Govt says that as it is a Defense deal its cost and other details will not be made public.
3. Technological loss : As per the previous deal Dassault would have had made 108 jets with the partnership of HAL in India, and this would finally help HAL to learn some new Technology. But as per the new deal all the 36 jets will be coming to India in the fly way condition.
4. Financial favor to Reliance: Opposition claimed that the Modi Govt helped the Reliance Company by purchasing the jets at higher cost than the Earlier deal. Govt cleared its stand that India will get more things than before. Dassault took the responsibility that every year there would be minimum 75% jets in the working condition and it will make all the spare parts available till next 7 years.
|France Govt Statement|
5. Holande’s Remark: One of the allegation is that the former President of the France said that,” India proposed a service group and Dassault negotiated with the Ambani”. He also said that,” We did not have a choice” and ” We did not have a say in this”. In Defense of this The France Govt issued a statement saying that the Govt is in no manner involved in the choice of the Indian Industrial Partners and will be selected by the French Companies. The French Company has full freedom to choose their Indian Industrial Partner. Also the Dassault Aviation has also issued a clarification stating that they have decided to partner withe the India’s Reliance Group.