Rafale deal: A saga of political dogfight to celebratory landing

New Delhi, July 29

The landing of 5 Rafale jets on Indian soil on Wednesday caps years of intense political dogfight, with the ruling BJP projecting the acquisition as an enormous increase to nationwide safety and the Congress alleging corruption, earlier than a clear chit by the Supreme Court to the deal eliminated any hurdle in its acquisition.

Senior BJP leaders had been jubilant because the multirole fight jets arrived on the Ambala Air Base, however this denouement marked by celebrations follows a protracted saga of political fights, with detractors of the deal taking their battle to the apex courtroom and shedding it there. 

Even the Supreme Court’s dismissal in December 2018 of PILs demanding a court-monitored probe into the Rs 59,000 crore buy of 36 fighter jets and assertion that it discovered nothing flawed within the deal, couldn’t douse the political fireplace because the then Congress president Rahul Gandhi made his allegations of graft within the transaction a ballot subject within the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the opposition of compromising nationwide curiosity by making “baseless” corruption costs and asserted that the French plane will bolster Indian Air Force capabilities manifold in a hostile neighbourhood.

Most political observers imagine that Gandhi’s costs didn’t discover a lot traction with voters because the saffron alliance retained energy on the Centre with a much bigger mandate, taking the wind out of the opposition’s sails in its marketing campaign in opposition to the deal.

His diatribe in opposition to the prime minister with slogans like “chowkidar chor hai” (watchman is a thief) ended up boom-ranging, because the Congress was decimated within the elections.  

The political row had erupted after the NDA authorities inked the Rs 59,000-crore deal on September 23, 2016 to acquire 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace main Dassault Aviation after a virtually seven-year train to acquire 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force didn’t fructify through the Congress-led UPA regime.

The emergency acquisition was made primarily to examine the depleting fight functionality of the IAF because the variety of its fighter squadrons had come right down to a worrying 31 in opposition to the authorised power of at the very least 42.

However, opposition events, primarily the Congress, accused the Modi authorities of bypassing the due course of and alleged that the price per plane had turned out to be far more than what was being negotiated by the UPA dispensation.

The then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had asserted amid relentless protests in Parliament by the Congress that in actuality the deal signed by the Modi authorities was 20 per cent cheaper than being negotiated by the UPA.

The authorities, nevertheless, declined to disclose worth breakdown of the deal, saying it’ll compromise nationwide curiosity by disclosing the small print of the plane’s safety features.

A CAG report in February final 12 months additionally vindicated the federal government’s place to a big extent, saying it secured a 2.86 per cent cheaper worth for the fighter jets than what was negotiated by the UPA regime.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had on December 14, 2018 rejected plea for a probe into the deal, saying there was no event to doubt the decision-making course of within the Rafale’s procurement.

In November final 12 months, the courtroom rejected pleas for a assessment of its choice, placing a closure to the political controversy over the deal. PTI


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