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Rafale deal: How purchase of 126 jets from France became a controversy

By one estimate, the India-specific enhancements took the actual price to double what the Congress claimed to have negotiated

Rafale, Rafale jet

The first deal to buy 126 Rafale fighter jet from France’s Dassault Aviation was negotiated in 2012, but never finalised. In 2016, the decisive Narendra Modi signed a smaller deal, this time with the French government, for 36 aircraft in “flyaway condition”, to be delivered between end-2019 and early 2022. By 2017, questions were being asked. How much was the deal involving far fewer aircraft worth? Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman declined to specify, citing a confidentiality clause. Then came a Parliamentary reply: Each Rafale cost Rs 67 million. From here, the ...