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Why Government rejected Air Force’s need of 126 Rafale Jets, Asks Chidambaram



P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Jan 18: Senior Congress Leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the Narendra Modi government of compromising the national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale jets instead of 126 required by the Indian Air Force.

Addressing a press conference, Chidambaram also reiterated the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe in the fighter jet deal.

Taking a jibe at the BJP Government he said “If the Modi govt had hoped that it had succeeded in giving a quiet burial to the Rafale scam, then they are wrong. Today it has acquired a new dimension”.

“Ever since 10th April, 2015, when PM Modi scrapped the UPA’s deal and announced new deal, one question has loomed large- Why did govt decide to reject IAF’s need of 126 aircrafts and decide to buy only 36? It has never been answered”.

Citing a news report published by the Hindu, he stated “Price negotiated by UPA govt in 2007 was €79.3mn/bare aircraft. That price escalated to €100.85mn in 2011. In 2016, discount of 9% brought down the price after factoring escalation”.

“Airforce had asked for 13 India-specific enhancements, the negotiated price was €1.3bn that was to be paid in UPA deal and NDA deal, however, this was spread over 126 aircrafts in UPA deal, but in NDA deal it is spread over 36 aircrafts”.

The Former Union Minister further said “If 126 aircrafts had been purchased, Dassault would’ve recovered €1300mn/€1.3bn over 10 years and 6 months. With only 36 aircrafts, this will be recovered in 36 months”.

“Dassault gains in two ways- increase of price per aircraft and net present value of money. This is the gift to Dassault by NDA govt. Should the govt order for another 90 aircrafts, Dassault will again charge for India-specific enhancements”.

“The Dassault is laughing all the way to the bank. The govt has wronged the country in 2 ways- compromised national security by denying 90 aircrafts and cost the public money”, he added.

As the report, it makes the following points:

  1. The price negotiated by the UPA government in 2007 was €79.3 million per bare-bones aircraft. In 2011, that price had escalated to €100.85 million per aircraft. In 2016, the ‘discount’ of 9 per cent negotiated by the NDA government brought down the price (presumably after factoring in the escalation between 2011 and 2016) to € 91.75 million.
  2. Air Force had asked for 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE).The negotiated price was €1300 million that would have to be paid under both the UPA-negotiated deal and the NDA-negotiated deal.
  3. The twist in the story is over the amortization or recovery by Dassault of the cost of ISE. Under the UPA-negotiated deal, it would have been spread over 126 aircraft. Under the NDA-negotiated deal it will be spread over 36 aircraft.
  4. Assuming one aircraft would be delivered every month, if 126 aircraft had been purchased, Dassault would have recovered €1300 million over 10 years and 6 months (or a little sooner). If only 36 aircraft are purchased, and delivered between 2009 and 2012 as contracted, Dassault will recover €1300 million in 36 months.
  5. Dassault gains in two ways. First, the price per aircraft, because of ISE, would have increased by €10.3 million if 126 aircraft had been ordered. Under the new agreement for only 36 aircraft, the price per aircraft, because of ISE, will increase by €36.11 million. Second, calculating net present value of money, the €1300 million that Dassault will recover (by 2022) will be much higher than the €1300 million it would have recovered (by 2029 or so). This is the gift to Dassault that the NDA government gave between April 2015 and August 2016.
  6. Dassault will gain in another way too. Should the government place an order for another 90 aircraft on Dassault, Dassault will certainly charge the ISE-loaded price at which it sold 36 aircraft, although the ISE cost would have been recovered on the sale of 36 aircraft. Perhaps for this reason the government deleted the ‘follow on’ clause to buy more aircraft (up to 50 per cent of the original order on the same terms and conditions).
  7. It seems to me that Dassault is laughing all the way to the bank. The government has wronged the country in two ways: firstly, it has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force 90 fighter aircraft that they desperately need; secondly, it has purchased two squadrons that will cost about €25 million more per aircraft. At the 2016 exchange rate, €25 million is equal to Rs 186 crore! India will pay Rs 186 crore more per aircraft!
  8. The Hindu’s story raises many other serious issues about the process of decision-making in the NDA government. The man who got away was Mr Manohar Parrikar who passed the buck to the Cabinet Committee on Security! Clever man! We will not comment on the process today. However, it is necessary to compliment the three officers of the Indian Negotiating Team who stood up to pressure and forced a vote of 4-3 on every issue.
  9. The vote of 4-3 itself tells a story. Has it ever happened before in a defence purchase? Why was it so important in this deal to take every decision by a 4-3 vote brushing aside every objection?
    There is no doubt any longer that the Rafale aircraft deal deserves to be examined thoroughly by a Joint Parliamentary Committee. The Congress reiterates its demand for the constitution of a JPC.



Haryana Cong Seeks Special Assembly Session for No-trust Vote Against Khattar Govt

Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the ML Khattar government has lost the confidence of the people and the House, adding a Congress delegation will meet the governor soon to demand summoning of the House.




Bhupinder s Hooda

The Congress in Haryana will seek the convening of a special session of the assembly to bring a no-confidence motion against the BJP-led state government, its legislature party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said Friday. Hooda said the ML Khattar government has lost the confidence of both the people and the House, and said a Congress delegation will meet Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya soon to demand summoning of the House.

When asked if some BJP MLAs were in touch with him, the Congress leader told reporters in Gurgaon, “I cannot disclose all things before you.” He said two Independent MLAs have already withdrawn support to the BJP-Jannayak Janta Party coalition and some JJP legislators have given statements against the government, while supporting the farmers’ protests.

“In the last session of the Vidhan Sabha, we had said the government should hold a discussion on farmers’ issues,” Hooda, who is Leader of the Opposition in the House, said. Now, the Congress Legislature Party has decided to meet the Governor and urge him to convene a special session of the Vidhan Sabha to discuss farmers’ problems, he said.

We will bring a no-confidence motion because the present government has not only lost the confidence of the people, but of the House. Independent MLAs Balraj Kundu and Sombir Sangwan had earlier withdrawn support to the BJP-JJP government, which completed a year in office over a month ago.

But Hooda claimed that some MLAs are playing a double role, making statements against the government but are continuing to support the government. This will make it clear who stands with the farmers, he said, referring to the planned no-trust motion. He said while farmers are on the streets, the JJP and some Independent MLAs continue to enjoy the fruits of power.

Hooda said when the assembly convenes, the Congress will also seek an amendment to guarantee the minimum support price (MSP) with punishment for those purchasing crops below it. At present, the Khattar government enjoys a comfortable majority in the 90-member State Assembly.

The BJP has 40 MLAs and its ally JJP 10. There are 31 Congress MLAs and one each from the Indian National Lok Dal and Haryana Lokhit Party. Seven members are Independents, out of whom five, including Power Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala, support the ruling combine.

Hooda said Khattar has insulted farmers by saying that those from Haryana are not part of the protest at Delhi’s borders. Not only this, one of his ministers rubbed salt on the wounds of farmers by saying the current agitation is foreign-funded. He should immediately apologise for his remarks, he demanded.

The 73-year-old former chief minister said he has not seen a bigger farmers’ agitation in his entire life. Thousands of farmers mostly from Punjab but many from Haryana are now protesting at Delhi’s borders, demanding the repeal of three agri-marketing laws enacted at the Centre in September.

Farmer unions say the new laws will lead to the dismantling of the MSP system, which the government denies. The Central government should immediately accept their demands, otherwise more problems may arise, Hooda said.

At a separate press conference in Chandigarh, Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said if the Centre does not repeal the farm laws, her party will do so when it comes to power. She said those in JJP and BJP who are with the farmers’ should stop supporting the government.

She said the Congress will fight the December 27 municipal bodies’ elections in the state on its party symbol.

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Tejashwi slams Centre for not inviting RJD to all- party meeting

The RJD currently has 5 Rajya Sabha MPs apart from 75 MLAs in the Bihar assembly and 6 MLCs.



Tejashwi Yadav

Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav has slammed the Centre for not inviting the RJD to the all-party meeting on the coronavirus vaccine.

Yadav said the Narendra Modi government has called an all-party meeting but has not invited the RJD despite it being the single largest party in Bihar.

“It indicates that the meeting is just a show and nothing else,” he said.

The all-party meeting is currently underway in Delhi chaired by PM Narendra Modi. Sources have said that only those parties were invited for the meeting who have at least 4 to 5 MPs in Parliament.

The RJD currently has 5 Rajya Sabha MPs apart from 75 MLAs in the Bihar assembly and 6 MLCs.

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Priyanka addresses Dalit panchayat in Uttar Pradesh



Priyanka Gandhi

Lucknow: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, on Friday, expressed concern over the increasing atrocities on Dalits in Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing a Dalit panchayat at the party’s state headquarters, through virtual medium, she said that the Yogi Adityanath government was putting Dalits in the dock, instead of addressing their problems, and lauded the efforts being made by the UP Congress in reaching out to the victims.

Referring to incidents in Hathras, Kanpur, Lalitpur, Azamgarh and other districts, she said that even the Chairman of the Congress SC/ST cell was falsely implicated in a criminal case and arrested.

“I have spoken to inmates of Ambedkar hostels and they are apprehensive that the government may close down their hostels. You all should stay united and the Congress will always support you,” she said.

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