With the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the plea on the Rafale deal next week, the remarks by top serving Indian Air Force (IAF) officers against the critics of the deal are totally misdirected. Nobody is questioning the capabilities of the Rafale fighter aircrafts as such. The controversy is over the questionable manner in which the government settled for just 36 aircraft jettisoning the IAF’s studied estimate of its dire need for 126 of such aircraft. Does it make the IAF top brass happy with the uncertainty looming large over the remaining 108?
The government’s claim that the Dassault was free to choose its partner is a hoax, given the provisions in its own Defence Offset Guidelines of April 2016. Price too is an issue. If indeed, the new deal includes certain India specific requirements as claimed by the present government, why were fresh tenders not invited? Are the two serving IAF officers publically debunking the critics as being ignorant of the defence procurement procedure answer to these vexing questions?
S K Choudhury Bengaluru
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