The Congress has been continuously making allegations against the Rafale deal. The matter has put the NDA government on the spot. But the government is not taking any of the allegations lying down.
The contract for 36 Rafale jets has come under speculation and attack. But Nirmala Sitharaman made it clear that it was nothing like the Bofors scam. She also said that she is ready should Congress question the deal. The government is also going to focus on the production of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft. What is not sitting well with Congress is the fact that during the UPA’s a much cheaper contract was negotiated.
The total cost of the current deal is 7.9 billion euros. The two deals can’t be compared because of the difference in the jets being procured. If the last deal was to be seen in this case the cost of procurement would have been 9.5 billion euros. It is also another matter that the UPA couldn’t see the deal through. The government though is also refusing to give the exact break-up of costs for the current deal because of a confidentiality agreement signed in the 2008 Indo-France pact. The defence ministry said to reveal the values would compromise India’s security because it would mean revealing the weapons systems and the customisation on the jet.
This has become a touchy point for Congress, calling the deal ‘non-transparent’. The accusation that it would mean ditching Tejas was also countered by BJP who said that HAL instead of producing 6 Tejas aircrafts would have to produce 8 per year. Tejas is not combat-ready yeat despite the project having been approved in 1983. The IAF is also ordering 83 Tejas jets at a cost of over 50,000 crores. The problem Congress has with the deal is the fact that BJP has a defence, it’s not certain which deal is better, but one can only trust a deal being seen through as a legitimate deal.