National

‘Rafale deal signed in a year; UPA took 10’

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on February 07, 2018 Published on February 07, 2018

The Ministry of Defence cited precedent and national security to refuse to make public the finer details of the warplane deal   -  REUTERS

Defence ministry says current pact with France better in terms of capability, price, maintenance

The government on Wednesday sough to upend the attack from the Congress over the the Rafale warplane deal, saying it had wrapped up the agreement with the French company in a year, while the erstwhile UPA dispensation’s “notional” deal took 10 years.

“As doubts are sought to be created about the 2016 contract for 36 aircraft, it is once again strongly reiterated that the deal secured by the government is better in terms of capability, price, equipment, delivery, maintenance, training, etc, than that notionally negotiated by the then government in a process it could not conclude in 10 years. Moreover, the present government completed these negotiations in just about one year,” said a statement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

It said that in 2012, the then Defence Minister, AK Antony, exercised an “unprecedented personal” veto for the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

As the government came under severe pressure from the Opposition to disclose the exact details of the deal, the Centre sought refuge in the fact that the even the UPA government had expressed its inability to disclose the price of various defence programmes sanctioned during their time.

National security cited

The government also said the Opposition’s demand to disclose the details and value of the contract for the Rafale aircraft signed in 2016 is “unrealistic”.

“The approximate acquisition cost of the Rafale aircraft has already been provided to the Parliament. Provision of exact item-wise cost and other information will reveal, inter alia, details regarding the various customisations and weapons systems specially designed to augment the effectiveness and lethality of the assets, impact our military preparedness and compromise our national security,” the Defence Ministry said.

The ministry also added that such details would also come under the ambit of the security agreement signed in 2008. “Thus, in not revealing the item-wise details of the contract, the government is merely following in letter and spirit the confidentiality provisions of a bilateral India-France Agreement of 2008 signed by the previous government,” it said.

The MoD also said that the procurement of the fighter jets was done through an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) as the Air Force was in dire need of these twin-engine fighters.

It said that the acquisition was done in in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure in all aspects including mandating, conducting and monitoring of negotiations and seeking all necessary approvals, including that of the Cabinet Committee on Security, before entering into the IGA.

“It may also be noted that contrary to the impression sought to be created by the Opposition, in the earlier proposal to procure Rafale, which ended in a stalemate, there was no provision for transfer of technology but only to manufacture under licence,” the Ministry said.

Interestingly, even in the current deal, which is worth ₹58,000 crore, there is no technology-transfer taking place as the planes are being acquired in fly-away condition, sources told BusinessLine.

Meanwhile, the maker of these planes Dassault Aviation is pushing the government for a follow-on order for 100 more fighters. Only if that happens will the vendor negotiate terms of technology transfer, sources said.

Published on February 07, 2018

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.