New Delhi: On 21st September, the controversy over India’s purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets under a deal with the French government took a new turn, with a French journal quoting François Hollande, former president as saying that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group for the offset clause in the deal.
“We are absolutely convinced that the Prime Minister of India is corrupt. This question is now clearly settled in the mind of the Indian people that ‘desh ka chowkidaar’ chor hai.” –Rahul Gandhi
After Francois revealed an explosive statement on the Rafale deal, defence ministry said on 22nd September, that “unnecessary controversies” are being sought to be created on the claimed statement and reiterated that the Government had “no role in the selection of Reliance Defence as the offset partner.”
“We didn’t have a choice,we took the interlocutor who was given to us” – François Hollande
Reliance Infrastructure Ltd has a 51:49 joint venture with (the maker of Rafale) Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL), which has an offset contract for 36 Rafale aircraft of about ₹30,000 crore.
What is Rafale Aircraft?
Rafales are twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French Firm’s Dassault Aviation. However, Rafale jets were replaced for updated version of Mig jets. The rafale jets has a range of 3,700 km/h and a top speed of 2,130 km/h.
Deal took place-
The deal of 36 Rafale aircraft was finalized on April 10, 2015, by the Prime Minister Modi on his Paris tour in 2015. But later negotiation by the previous government led this deal of 126 aircrafts to cancellation.
Interestingly, the deal was signed on September 23,2016 in Delhi between then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart.
Demand of Investigation
In 2011, Congress lead UPA (United progressive Alliance) Government had acquired 126 Rafale deal with France’s Government for better stronghold into their Army’s Defence equipments. But when NDA came in power they finalized the deal to just only 36 Rafale with high rated jets.
“Why was an aircraft that was for Rs 520 crore was bought for Rs 1,600 crore?” –Congress Tweeted