The CAG report on Wednesday, which stated that the inter-governmental contract for Rafale deal was 2.8% lower than the earlier aligned price, became the fifth institution, along with the apex court, the French government, defence firm HAL and the IAF, who rendered the Congress president Rahul Gandhi wrong
Here are the institutions that proved Rahul Gandhi wrong:
1. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) - The CAG report finds the Rafale deal negotiated by the Narendra Modi government in 2016 as cheaper than the one being discussed during the UPA regime. The deal to acquire 36 fighter jets in a flyaway condition is 2.86 per cent cheaper and the delivery scheduled better by 5 months.
2. The Supreme Court - In December 2018 said that it found nothing wrong in the deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets. Sending Rahul Gandhi on back foot, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that it had studied the matter "extensively" and that it was “satisfied that there is no occasion to doubt the process [of signing the Rafale deal].”
Four petitions were filed that had asked the SC to set up a court-monitored probe in Rafale deal. The petitions had alleged that the Modi government not only overpaid the Rafale jets but also promoted crony capitalism. Dismissing all the PILs, the SC said that the Rafale deal process was perfectly fine.
3. French Government - Government of France had earlier denied claims made by Rahul Gandhi about the Rafale deal. Taking note of Gandhi’s statement, the France government said that the secrecy pact applies to the 2016 Rafale deal.
“We have noted the statement of Mr Rahul Gandhi before the Indian Parliament… France and India concluded in 2008 a Security agreement, which legally binds the two States to protect the classified information provided by the partner that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment of India or France,” the statement said.
The Congress and the opposition have been attacking the government on the issue of not taking a sovereign guarantee from the French side. To pour cold water on this claim, the then French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in September 2016 had written a letter to PM Modi in which he had said that they would completely back the obligations made by their firms in the contract.
“I hereby confirm that the government of the French republic is fully committed to doing whatever is necessary to make sure that Dassault Aviation and MBDA of France, each in their own respect, do their utmost to fully respect their obligations in accordance with aforesaid inter-governmental agreement and annexed supporting protocols,” said the letter.
4. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited - The chief of the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) R Madhavan said that the decision to procure 36 aircraft in flyaway condition was taken as they were needed quickly. He had earlier said that the HAL is not in the offsets business and is not contending for offsets in the Rafale deal. Madhavan in an interview said that “they are not in the offsets business. We are into manufacturing of aircraft. A transfer of technology and production are different from offsets. While some part of the offsets could come to HAL (in different programmes), we are basically not an offsets partner. In fact, we are not even contending for the offsets. We do not plan, for example, to have a line to make a foreign civilian jet. Our prime business is manufacturing, not offsets.”
Rahul Gandhi had accused the center of ignoring the HAL while negotiating the fresh agreement. He said that like under the previous deal that was being negotiated, the HAL could have manufactured some of the aircraft through transfer of technology.
5. Indian Air Force - Indian Air Force chief Birender Singh Dhanoa has termed Rafale as a “game changer” and said that the IAF needs the jet more than ever before. Dhanoa said India’s adversaries have already upgraded their defence systems.
“Who says we don't need Rafale? The government says we need Rafale, we are saying we need Rafale, the Supreme Court has given a fine judgement. It took us so long that our adversaries have already upgraded their system. Rafale is a game changer,” the Air Chief Marshal said while addressing the media.
Dhanoa said similar “emergency" acquisitions have been made by India in the past—most notably in the 1980s when Pakistan began to acquire US-made F-16s.
Busting another lie of Rahul Gandhi, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa had explained that Dassault Aviation, the French firm that manufactures the jets, had chosen Reliance Defence as its offset partner, and that the government and the Indian Air Force had no role to play in the choice.
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Last Updated Feb 13, 2019, 6:25 PM IST