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SOURCE: ABHAY KESARKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

While Modi Government tried to be street smart when it came to the procurement of 36 Dassault Rafale from France but it might end up costing Indian air force much-needed additional procurement of the same combat jets. While the Congress-led opposition is busy trying to invent a scam out of Dassault Rafale contract, procuring the second batch of 36 Dassault Rafale has invertedly been delayed and might not happen at all if the opposition makes it a single point agenda to derail India’s security interest.

Tender for purchase of 110 fighter aircraft which was recently floated by Modi Government has seen an unusual entry of Sukhoi-Su-35 in the race which interestingly was kept out on purpose by Indian Air Force and Government of India in efforts not to keep all eggs in Sukhoi basket.

In Past India was in talks to procure 114 units of FGFA based on Sukhoi’s Su-57 and also had procured 272 Sukhoi Su-30MKI which meant Indian Air Force not only could have been top heavy but also depended on Sukhoi’s to much to meet its requirements.

With talks of FGFA collapsing and backdoor entry of Sukhoi-Su-35 in the present tender for 110 fighter jets suggests that Modi Government is having second thoughts of ordering made in India Dassault Rafale which interestingly could have been made by Reliance Defence which is already in line of fire from the Congress and are questioning offset benefits the company got in the previous deal for 36 jets.

Acceptance of Necessity ( AoN) for 201 Tejas MK-II issued by Indian Airforce has also dammed need for imported fighter aircraft. With technical changes and with additional capabilities, Tejas MK-II is all set to become Swadeshi MMRCA which IAF wanted in first place. in short a Desi Mirage-2000-5 is currently been developed locally in India which will far exceed performance parameters of Mirage-2000/Jaguars and Mig-29 fighter aircraft it plans to replace by mid-2030.

Experts are suggesting multiple scenarios which might take place if a weaker Modi Government is barely able to come back to power in 2019 with some unlikely post-poll alliance and some of them are

Scenario-1

Tender for 110 units is awarded to a different OEM and plans to procure additional Dassault Rafale is scrapped permanently and a small fleet of 36 fighters might come under Strategic Forces Command (SFC) and will become India’s official carrier of Nuclear weapons by Air and will be part of an Elite Squadron or will continue to fly with regular Squadrons.

Scenario-2

Tender is scrapped and India decides to instead order 40-60 Sukhoi Su-30MKI and place reminder order for procurement of 40-50 Tejas MK-1A instead, while 36 Dassault Rafale will fly under SFC or under regular Squadrons.

Scenario-3

India gets bold and places orders for 60 Sukhoi Su-35 instead of Su-30MKI and also decides to procure an additional 36 Dassault Rafale in flyaway condition directly from France. Scraps the tender after coming to power.

Scenario-4

Places order for 40-60 Sukhoi Su-30MKI or Sukhoi Su-35 and also decides to procure 50-60 Su-57 directly from Russia.

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