India entered into Rafale deal to transform its air strength with advanced fighters. Its old stock of Lockheed Martin F-16, Saab’s Gripen, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing F/ A-18 E/F Super Hornet, and the Russian MiG-35 needed an upgrade.
The deal has landed into a series of controversies, starting with irregularities in the pricing of the jets. Recently, the government is facing serious allegations over the selection of local partner in line with the offset clause. Amidst the claims and counter-claims, the principal contention is on the selection of Anil Ambani’s inexperienced Reliance Defence over public-sector unit HAL, which has a long history of making fighter planes.
However, the spokespersons of the ruling party and opposition parties are busy hurling insults instead of informing the public about the critical issues in the deal. When an anchor in a TV debate questions the BJP spokesperson, he evades and gets angry. The Congress party spokesperson spurs her assault more vigorously, and the Samajwadi Party’s Anurag Bhadauria recites some lines from a Hindi film song.
Purchase of as many as 36 Rafale planes estimated to be worth $ 8.7 billion has become a political controversy. It is apt to mention here that under the country’s defence procurement rules, any company selling equipment must invest at least 30% of the contract in India as part of an offset clause to help build a domestic manufacturing base and lessen country’s dependence on imports. This is possibly Make in India theory.
The Dassault company had committed to invest 50% of the contract value to benefit the local company. As a result, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited(DRAL) came into existence in February 2017, and the plant’s base was laid in Maharashtra. According to the reports, the plant will be dealing in the production of the parts for Dassault’s Falcon 2000 business jets and the components for the Rafale combat aircraft.