(This explainer on the Rafale deal has been republished from The Quint’s archives in the wake of former French president Francois Hollande claiming that the Modi government picked Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the local partner, contrary to their claim that neither French nor Indian government was involved in the commercial tie-up.)
Kitna deti hai? (What’s the mileage?) – This is the ultimate question for any Indian in the market for a transport vehicle. So, why should it be any different when the Indian government goes shopping for fighter jets?
Which government got us the cheaper deal to fulfil the Indian Air Force’s desperate need for medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), the Congress-led UPA or the BJP-led NDA? The vendor, France’s Dassault Aviation was initially approached for 126 Rafale fighter jets, but in the 15 years since the demand was first raised by the Indian Air Force and four general elections later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in September 2016, made the big ticket announcement for the immediate purchase of 36 jets from the French jets.
But, at what cost? – the answer remains the worst kept ‘official’ secret by the Modi government.