SOURCE: TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Supreme Court today in what could be seen as a massive validation for the government’s 59,000 crore deal for 36 Rafale jets, cleared the deal and also dismissed the need for a probe as it didn’t find any evidence of commercial favoritism to any private entity. Indian Air Force which recently floated tender for 110 fighter jets to be Made in India with local partners will breather a sigh of relief since now Rafale will no more be seen as Hot Potato by the current government if it is reelected again in 2019.
Declaration of the winner of the recent tender will likely be made only after the new Government is sworn in 2019, but it now allows IAF a fighting chance to induct 110 more Rafale fighter jets which were previously selected after going though gruesome Technical trials by Senior most ranked Test pilots of IAF.
It’s no secret that of all the fighter aircraft which are in contention for the MMRCA 2.0, Rafale fighter jets will always be IAF’s first choice and with all the Scam allegation now likely to go down in the next few days, IAF will now be able to make better pitch for induction of more jets into its fleet.
Rafale fighter jets were selected based on its Merit over all the other jets in the contention but making them locally in India will require proper execution of contracts and better partners in place so that it does not come back to haunt the new government.
While Anil Ambani owned Reliance company is not making any Rafale jets in India yet, but the uproar over being the largest offset partner for the 36 Rafale jet allowed opposition in India to allege Government’s favoritism. Reliance Industries cannot be the sole authority in India to make them if Rafale fighter jets is selected again and Government should ensure that Defence PSU’s like HAL, BEL, and NAL are also part of the new contract so as to avoid calls of favoritism on part of Government again.
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