National

We closed Rafale deal in one year, while UPA sat on it for 10 years: Defence Ministry

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

A French made Dassault Rafale jet fighter (file photo)

The imbroglio surrounding French warplanes Rafale refused to die down on Wednesday when the Defence Ministry came out with a detailed response lambasting the UPA government that it took 10 years to close the deal, while the BJP government closed it in just one year.

“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 ten years. Moreover, the present Government completed these negotiations in just about one year,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The Ministry also 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).

Opposition demand ‘unrealistic’

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 prices of various defence programmes that were sanctioned during their time.

The government also said that 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 customizations 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.

Deal through IGA

The Defence Ministry also stressed on the fact 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.

The IGA is governed by the provisions of the Security Agreement signed between India and France signed in 2008. The IGA was signed on September 23, 2016 in which it was agreed that all the 36 jets will be bought off the shelf.

“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.

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!

Sincerely,

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.