Defence Ministry’s dissent note had nothing to do with Rafale pricing, clarifies ex-secy

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 08 February 2019, 11:38 AM
The 2007 bid meant India was buying 18 fighter jets in ‘fly-away’ condition and 108 were to be made in India. (File photo)
The 2007 bid meant India was buying 18 fighter jets in ‘fly-away’ condition and 108 were to be made in India. (File photo)

Amid intense political war over the Rafale deal, a new media report has said that the defence ministry was against the deal. ‘The Hindu’ report published the ‘note of dissent’ that was recorded on November 24, 2015 on a note prepared by SK Sharma, Deputy Secretary (Air-II), and endorsed by the Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Air) and the Director General (Acquisition) in the Ministry. However, the then defence secretary G Mohan Kumar said that, “Defence Ministry’s dissent note had nothing to do with Rafale pricing.” Kumar was quoted as saying by the ANI that, “It (MoD dissent note on Rafale negotiations) had nothing to do with price. It was about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions.”

Last month, ‘The Hindu’ had reported that how the Narendra Modi government's 2015 decision exponentially increased the price of each fighter jet. The report said that the deal bypassed the procedures despite some serious objections raised by top defence brass. The January 18 report said that the 2015 decision caused the price of Rafale jets to go up by 41%. According to the report, Manmohan Singh-led UPA government had decided to buy 126 Rafale aircraft in 2007. The 2007 bid meant India was buying 18 fighter jets in ‘fly-away’ condition and 108 were to be made in India.

In 2015, the Modi government surprised everyone and signed the deal with France for the multi-role fighter jets. But instead of 126, India now settled for 36 fighter jets. This is where the problem is. 'The Hindu' reports that the Dassault Aviation had quoted 1.4 billion euros as the 'design and development' cost. At that time, this cost was supposed to be divided into 126 fighter jets. In 2016, this cost came down to 1.3 billion euros after tough negotiations. But due to the lesser number of aircraft, the price per jet increased as much 41%."This straightaway meant an increase of 25 million euros in the price of each aircraft as compared with the UPA-era bid by Dassault," 'The Hindu' report had said.

First Published: Friday, February 08, 2019 11:18 AM
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