Published On : Sat, Apr 11th, 2015

Modi shops for planes worth $4.2 billion in France. Swamy does not approve

Indo-French are touching a new high with PM Modi’s visit.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi  has stated that India will soon buy 36 Rafale jets in ‘fly-away condition’ and President Francois Hollande in return has announced an investment of two billion Euros in India.

Modi said the 36 Rafale aircraft were being bought due to ‘critical operational necessity’ of the Indian Air Force. He said the terms would be better than the ongoing stalled negotiations and added that officials will soon take the acquisition forward.

The two leaders made the joint statement after discussions between Modi and Hollande  today.

The delivery is to be to a time-frame compatible to the IAF requirements, and weapons, systems and aircraft would be of the same configuration as approved by IAF and with a longer maintenance responsibility of France.

While long-blocked exclusive negotiations between the two sides had initially focused on 126 French Rafales, the 36-jet order is manufacturer Dassault’s biggest yet abroad — estimated to be worth nearly four billion euros ($4.2 billion).

Paris sold 24 Rafale jets to Egypt earlier this year.

But there is someone senior in his own party who does not approve of Modi’s decision.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets in fly-away condition under a new deal with France has come will severe criticism Dr. Subramaniam Swamy.

“There are two major issues with the Rafale aircraft deal which would embarrass the BJP government. The first is that Rafale is less fuel efficient aircraft and lacking in essential performance characteristic that no country in the world has agreed to buy these aircraft,” Swamy said in a statement.

It is worth noting that IAF selected the Rafael fighter under the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal after a close competition which also saw Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, Mikoyan MiG-35 and Saab JAS 39 Gripen in the race. While Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, Mikoyan MiG-35 and Saab JAS 39 Gripen were eliminated very early, Dassault Rafale edged out the Eurofighter Typhoon in the final negotiation.

So upset is Swamy with the decision that he has threatened “If the Prime Minister for some other ‘compulsion’ decides to go ahead with the deal, I will have no option but to approach the court in PIL to get it set aside.”