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On Thursday Rafale deal heated the debate in Indian parliament, with Congress alleging that the Rafale deal signed by the Modi government in 2016 was the biggest scam. Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the Prime minister saying, “Modi has personally got the deal done. Modi had personally gone to Paris. Personally the deal was changed. Entire India knows it.”
While the government and the opposition are busy debating, here is all about the Rafale deal.

WHAT ARE RAFALE JETS?
The Dassault Rafale or ‘the gust of air’ is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and manufactured by Dassault Aviation. The aircraft is Equipped with a wide range of missiles, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, air support, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. Rafale can carry out both air-to-ground, as well as air-to-air attacks and interceptions during the same raid.

THE RAFALE DEAL
A minimum of 42 combatant squadrons are needed by the Indian Air force (hereafter IAF) to attain optimal potential but between the years its actual strength declined to 34 squadrons. In order to maintain the standard and efficiency of Indian air force the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2000 put forward a proposal to the French government to procure advance jet fighters. The process of this procurement was started by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007; subsequently a Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued.
Six well-known aircraft manufacturers participated in the of 126 fighter jets which was called the largest-ever defence procurement deal of India. The initial bidders were Lockheed Martin’s F-16s, Boeing’s F/A-18s, Euro fighter Typhoon, Russia’s MiG-35, Sweden’s Saab’s Gripen and Dassault’s Rafale. IAF then conducted technical evaluations and flight evaluations and in 2011, declared that Rafale and Euro fighter Typhoon had met its criteria. Rafale was declared L-1 bidder in 2012 and contract negotiations began with its manufacturer, Dassault Aviation. Till 2014 there was no conclusive outcome, due to the lack of cooperation on different conditions of RFP fulfilment and cost related matters.
In 2014 when Narendra Modi became the Prime minister, the government of India scrapped the earlier deal. In his subsequent visit to France in 2016, Prime Minister announced a government-to-government deal in which, India will acquire 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition.
In the earlier bid there was no agreement on the terms of Technology Transfer, which is one of the prime reasons why the deal was scrapped. However, under the current agreement, the 36 Rafale procurement offset proposal supports the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Indian Government through Article 12 of the IGA. It states that the French Party will facilitate the implementation of ‘Make in India’ by the industrial supplier notably through offsets for 50% value of the supply protocol. The Offset proposal also includes provisions for transfer of sophisticated design technology which is meaningfully superior to the licence manufacturing on offer in the earlier 126 MMRCA nonstarter. These critical design technologies are presently under discussion between the two governments. The present IGA was signed purely between two sovereign governments and no private individual, firm or entity was involved in the process from the Indian side. The procurement process also does not involve any Indian private party.

COST INVOLVED
Initially the deal was estimated to be of Rs.54, 000 Crore. According to the present government the current deal is significantly better in terms than quoted in the original bid under the UPA and saves more than 1600 million Euros. However, the cost breakdown of the deal has not been made public on the pretext of being classified.

WHY RAFALE MATTER?
There has been a shift in India’s defence partnership; India has chosen France over its traditional partner, Russia. India was the first country that agreed to buy Rafale, after it was used in Libyan airstrikes. Currently, Rafale jets are being used mostly by France, and a few by Egypt and Qatar.
Indian Air force desperately needs advanced aircrafts for enhancing the air power and efficiency. Further delay can only make things worse. This deal is India’s biggest-ever procurement. The success of the Rafale deal is imperative for all other future defence procurements; all these factors make this deal very vital.

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Kartikey Misra

A student of law, co-founder eltrivate, Individualist, Narcissist. Totally believes in Nationalism. Has an interest in politics, history, religion, literature and international relations. Loves to hunt pseudo liberals and pseudo seculars.

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