The Rafale deal is a bad bone between the BJP and the Congress, like many other issues.
Often the point that the national security has been compromised in the formation of the deal was pointed out. But has PM Modi really compromised it?
Here is what these ex-BJP Ministers say.
Ex-BJP Minister Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie had stated that the PM has disregarded every rule in the military book to finalize the Rafale deal, compromising the national security.
To hide PM Modi’s “personal culpability” the government had “spun a web of lies to protect Modi’s culpability in the largest defence scam” the country had ever seen.
The ex-ministers added that the Defense Ministry & the Indian Air Force (IAF) were kept in dark about the deal until its announcement in April 2015.
For the sake of his “crony capitalists”, PM Modi had cancelled the original deal before signing the present one. “National security has been compromised by Modi and every rule of procurement flouted to unilaterally reduce the number of planes from 126 to 36 and remove Make in India under Transfer of Technology by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) despite the fact that IAF, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) and MoD had come to a reasoned conclusion that 126 aircraft were required for the long-term needs and security of the country,” said Mr Shourie.
The DAC’s approval was needed before the finalization of the deal, the DAC had approved of Modi’s deal on 13th May 2015, a month after the announcement.
The leaders even questioned the decision of choosing Reliance Defence Ltd, which has “no experience” in manufacturing aircraft over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Initially in 2012, during the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) tenure, India planned to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets from France, with 108 others to be assembled in the country by the state-run aerospace and defence company HAL.
The BJP-led government scrapped the UPA’s plan in 2015 and announced that it would buy 36 “ready-to-fly” Rafale jets instead of seeking a technology transfer from France’s Dassault Aviation and making the aircraft in India.
“The question is how the price of Rs. 670 crore per aircraft went up to Rs. 1,670 crore. The government has been hiding behind the confidentiality clause. If it is confidential, then how come (former defence minister) Manohar Parrikar and then (Minister of State for Defence) Subhash Bhamre had quoted the price of the jets,” asked Shourie.
Mr Parrikar in 2015 told Doordarshan that the UPA-negotiated price for 126 Rafale combat aircraft would have been Rs. 715 crore apiece while a year later Bhamre told the Lok Sabha that the NDA-negotiated price would be approximately Rs. 670 crore.
“Each new invention shows that all these arguments are an afterthought to justify the scam through which the price per aircraft has been increased from Rs. 670 crore to Rs. 1,660 crore approximately,” said Sinha.