The Fighter Jet Aircraft Rafale seems to be always amidst controversy in India. It is now set to undergo modifications as per the reports from the Indian Air Force (IAF). They are ready to Fly the Indian Skies. The progress is in the process.
RB 008 :
Named after Air Marshall Rafale K. S. Bhadauria, who was the Deputy Chief of Indian Air Force during the deal’s negotiations and presently is the Air Officer Commander-in-Chief of the IAF’s Training Command. In order to level up to the peers, India made this decision of spending on Fighter jets.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprisingly cited a ‘Critical Operational Necessity‘ in the Paris meet, 2015. Within a year in September 2016, India and France signed a 7.87 billion Euro (Rs.64,917 Crore) Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale Multi-role Fighter jets in fly away condition. By 2022 i.e, 67 months from the contract is signed the deadline is marked. Deliveries have already begun after 36 months of the contract.
Designated as “RB 008” after Air Marshall R.K.S. Bhadauria who had a major role in the contractual negotiations. It is the first aircraft built by Dassault company for the Air Force. The jet is a two seat variant. It has made its maiden flight on Oct 30th and its team is now ready for assault.
Deal in Shackles :
For the past few months the deal is facing a lot of speculations. The financial costs stated by the government wond add up to the actual facts known to the experts. Ajay Shukla, a defense expert in his column for the Business Standard has raised many questions. Accordingly, in his piece, he states that the cost of 36 Rafale Aircrafts in 2016 are costing 40% more than the earlier proposed cost of 126 aircrafts by Dassault back in 2012. Dassault’s company won the lowest bid and even it claims to have made no new costs.
On the contrary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in 2016 referred to the deal to be costing 20% lesser than usual. This led to a series of apprehensions over the stated facts. Ajay Shukla and many others are in wonder, as to how the Defense Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Officials of the Indian Air Force and the entire NDA Government could easily claim these numbers which seem to be faulty.
Unless and until the government starts being transparent and accountable to its numbers and conveys the same to the public, many misconceptions and allegations are bound to prevail.