India is facing high criticism
internally on the procurement of The Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, Rafale.
The competition of supply of these aircrafts is also known as Medium Role Combat
Aircraft competition. It is also called MRCA tender. The purpose of this
competition is meant to supply 126 multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air
Force (IAF). 55,000 crore Indian Rupees (US $ 8.0 billion) was allocated for
this procurement. The said amount makes this deal largest defence deal.
Previously, Indian Air force was using Russia made Sukhoi Su-30 MKI the superior
fighter, which lacked features of Light Combat Aircraft. The multirole light
combat aircraft has been modified for engaging in light combat missions,
strikes, reconnaissance and interdiction role along with trainer role. They are
equipped with guns and short-range air to air missiles. It can also be used for
the purpose of anti-helicopter missions.
Six fighter crafts Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter
Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F 16 Fighter, Mikoyan MiG-35 and Saab JAS 39 Gripen
took part in this contest. On 31st January 2012, the announcement of victory of
France made Dassault Rafale was announced. The Dassault Rafale Aircraft has
lowest life-cycle cost. Both the countries entered into a deal in 2014. Indian
Defence Ministry wanted Dassault to be solely responsible for sale and delivery
of the said fighter craft. In March 2014, both the countries decided to deliver
18 aircraft to India. Dassault decided to reinvest 50% of earnings into another
Indian Defence Sector. On the contrary, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar
called M-MRCA tender “effectively dead”. India officially withdrew this tender
on 30th July 2015. Both India and France agreed upon the terms of purchasing 36
Rafales for the totalled US $ 8 billion. Each aircraft costs US $ 200, with an
offset requirement of 30% of the deal’s value for France to reinvest India’s
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s defence procurement deal has been
criticized by opposition parties with Congress at the forefront. The general
public of India and Indian media are outraged after the details of the MRCA deal
have been made public. Purchase of Rafale aircraft has been evolved into a mega
corruption scandal in defence procurement. Reportedly, Modi’s government has
intensified propaganda warfare against Congress leadership through pamphlets etc
highlighting the corruption of Uttar Pradesh government, questioning the
patriotism of Congress leadership on the price issue of each Rafale aircraft.
On the other hand, the Ambani’s Reliance Private Limited is also attached to the
Rafale Aircraft deal. The opposition of India has been criticising “Modi-Ambani”
unholy nexus. Hence, the Rafale deal is also viewed in the same context. The
darkest side of the picture is that Indian defence Minister Parrikar himself was
not aware of the deal, before 48 hours of the announcement.
Rafale purchase scam is about the outrageous price, the Jets are being purchased
for and that too with terms, which are totally unfair to India. In this
scenario, instead of caring for its public, India is evolved in such a costly
defence deal. Even the aircraft to be delivered were reducing from 126 to 36,
whereas the spending remained the same US $ 8 billion. In Indian parliament, the
question was raised. The Congress questioned Modi’s Government that why only 36
Rafale crafts when 126 were required and the original deal was of 126 aircrafts.
The opposition decided to present the case of Rafale Aircraft procurement to the
court. Kapil Sibal announced to move the court after getting documents.
Concluding more, India is also a developing country and most of its public is
living below the poverty line. The economy of India is also not strong enough to
enter into expensive defence deals. India’s mentally to increase its defence
budget leads it to the procurement of expensive aircraft. But the worst
corruption is in the defence deals. Indian government should look after its
public and try not enter into the “race of arms and ammunition”.