At a time when the Narendra Modi government is under attack over the Rafale deal, it is emerging that the policy for signing inter-governmental agreements without “classically” following the Standard Operating Procedure or Standard Contract Document was laid down by the previous Congress-led UPA government in 2013.
The Indian negotiating team, which firmed up the deal for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from French company Dassault through an inter-governmental agreement, followed that policy of the UPA government, top official sources said here on Monday.
In 2013, the UPA government came up with a new policy which allows the Defence Ministry to not follow the laid down rules and sign inter-governmental agreements with friendly foreign countries as per mutually agreed provisions between both sides.
“There may be occasions when procurements would have to be done from friendly foreign countries which may be necessitated due to geo-strategic advantages that are likely to accrue to our country. Such procurements would not classically follow the Standard Procurement Procedure and the Standard Contract Document but would be based on mutually agreed provisions by the Governments of both the countries. Such procurements will be done based on an Inter-Governmental Agreement after clearance from CFA (Competent Financial Authority),” the para 71 of the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2013 clarifies.
The sources said the Indian Negotiation Team in the Rafale deal had relied on these provisions of the DPP-2013 while finalising the contract for the combat aircraft. The DPP-2013 came into force in 2013 when the UPA government was in power and AK Antony was the Defence Minister.
Media reports have targeted the NDA government for deviating from the standard clauses in the defence procurement procedure while signing the Rafale deal including the anti-corruption clauses that are applied to private contractors.