Amid Controversy, 3 Rafale Fighters Land in B’luru for Aero India

Despite the controversy, Rafale remains the main attraction of the Aero India  

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As the controversy over the procurement of 36 French Rafale multirole fighter aircraft keeps the Modi government on its toes, three Rafale aircraft landed in Bengaluru’s Yelanhanka Air Force Station for Aero India 2019.

Display teams of Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of these fighter jets, arrived in Bengaluru on Wednesday evening. According to Yelahanka Air Force Station officials, the Rafale aircraft will take part in the rehearsals on Thursday, 14 February.

Despite the controversy, Rafale fighter planes remain one of the main attractions of this year’s edition of the Aero India. Rafale debuted in Aero India in 2011, and since, it has been part of every edition of the air show.

On the political front, however, a report published in The Hindu quotes an internal Defence Ministry note and suggests that there were “parallel negotiations” conducted by the PMO with the French side.

The report further states that the MoD had objected to these negotiations, which purportedly “weakened” India’s negotiating position in the Rafale deal.

-The note, dated 24 November 2015, was undersigned by then-Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar and Deputy Secretary SK Sharma, and was also brought to the attention of then-Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The Rafale deal, negotiated by the NDA government to procure 36 fighter jets, was 2.86 percent cheaper than the UPA's 2007 offer, the Comptroller and Auditor General said in its report.

With regard to India Specific Enhancements, the deal was 17.08 percent cheaper, according to the CAG report, which was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, 13 February.

In terms of engineering support package and performance-based logistics, the deal was 6.54 percent more expensive than the Congress-led UPA’s offer, it stated.

The report gives relief to the Narendra Modi-led government, which has been facing fervent attacks by the Opposition parties over the fighter jet deal.

The Quint, which has a copy of the CAG report, lists key takeaways from the document.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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