Cannot disclose Rafale deal details due to secrecy pact with France: Sitharaman

Union Minister for Defence Nirmala Sitharaman
Union Minister for Defence, Nirmala Sitharaman | PTI Photo by Subhav Shukla

Major controversy over the cost of the deal prompted questions in Parliament, but defence minister says pricing cannot be shared.

New Delhi: Details of the Rafale fighter jet deal cannot be revealed in Parliament due to a secrecy pact with France, the government has said after several questions were raised on the pricing of the combat aircraft.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha that details like the per-aircraft cost cannot be shared, as India has a secrecy pact that applies to the deal.

“As per ‘Article-10’ of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between Government of India and Government of France on the purchase of Rafale aircraft, the protection of the classified information and material exchanged under IGA is governed by the provisions of the Security Agreement signed between the two nations in 2008,” the minister said in reply to a question raised in Rajya Sabha.

Raging controversy

The Rafale deal courted controversy after the Congress raised allegations that it was overpriced, and that Reliance Defence, owned by Anil Ambani, was favoured by the government. These allegations have been strongly denied by both the BJP and Reliance Defence.

As reported by ThePrint, months before it signed the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in 2016, the NDA government passed over another European offer that promised deliveries of the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, which was €59 million per unit cheaper than the French planes.

The offer – made at the top level of the Indian government – involved diverting deliveries of Eurofighter Typhoon jets from Britain, Italy and Germany to meet urgent Indian requirements.

The Eurofighter Typhoon had been offered at a total cost of €17.5 billion for 126 fighters, or €138 million per plane. The Rafale deal cost India €7.1 billion for 36 jets, which translates to €197 million per jet.

Even if the €353 million performance-based logistics cost – the money to maintain and fly the fighters for five years – is deducted, the Rafale jets cost India €187 million per fighter.

India is due to get 36 Rafale jets by the end of 2019 – a much needed addition to the Air Force that is desperate for cutting edge fighters. The Air Force is also keen to add to this fleet with more orders, given the unreliability of the existing Russian fleet and delays in inducting the indigenous Tejas.

19 COMMENTS

  1. performance-based logistics cost – the money to maintain and fly the fighters for five years is mentioned but training personnel and pilots along with weapons package cost was not mentioned which would brings cost almost the same. Moreover Eurofighter is larger Air Superiority Fighter whose kind is already operated by IAF(Su30MKI). Wherein Rafale is smaller Multirole if not the best 4++ gen fighter right now. Anyways dealing with one country is better than entire European consortium in crisis times.

  2. The secrecy clause is alright. But is the Indian Govt is debarred from putting the reasons for agreeing to inclusion of such secrecy cv clause in such a big international deal in public domain, because France favoured us monitarily?

  3. There are people who are seriously crazy. If they notice carefully the cost of per plane fly away cost is Euro 74 Million or USD 92 Million.

    • The people will also notice that it includes the cost of spares, weapons, training, maintenance and many such items which were absent in what was being negotiated by congress. Lifetime maintenance, spares and weapons are nomally double the price of aircraft and subject to escalation in price. Thats what is being avoided and the prices fixed.

  4. It’s after all public money . The people are entitled to know why we are paying Euro 59 million more per aircraft . Secondly any possible benefit to Reliance Defence must be clarified . The two aircraft’s are comparable platforms with similar weapons capacities hence why this huge difference in cost ?

  5. The money comes from taxpayers!! Ms minister and the government are using it. The taxpayers have moral right to know the cost !! देश को उल्लु मत बनावो!!

    • Please ask the johnnies who tied the hands of the Government in 2008 with the idea of hiding future hafta negotiations that were to be padded into weapons, training etc.

    • And what should it be used for? Building capacity that will see India’s tech base widen and creates employment or would you have preferred UPA that created the secrecy clause and terms of set off in 2008 in such a way that details of set off need be disclosed by Rafael only when it is due?

  6. #UnitedAgainstCorruption #ZerCorruption @GACCProject @anticorruption @ACTIndiaOffice All forgot Anti-Corruption Ombudsman-LOKPAL&UNCAC. No Neta+Babu keen for LOKPAL to function.ALL LAW MAKERS CORRUPT afraid of Lokpal as do PRIVATE&POLITICAL PARTY WORK WITH GOVT SALARY=GRAND LOOT

  7. The Print and Congress will divert attention from the fact that the Inter-Government Agreement was signed by the Government fronted by a deaf mute puppet with the idea of covering up the possible hafta to be negotiated. They will also not mention the fact that the price negotiated by Congress was for vanilla Rafael without weapons, service, training etc. and NFDA price includes all that and more. The “more” is what #paadsevaks of #dynasty, lovers of Pakistan and China; and China and Pakistan would like to lay hands on. That’s what they will never get also.

    The attempt is to create a veil of suspicion in every act of NDA. What the poor sods forget is that it was the same abuse since 2002 based on lies and innuendoes that propelled Modi to premiership. The more they indulge in such idiocy the more secure Modi becomes. LOL

  8. This lady is beyond control. When first time I heard when she was in Gujarat election campaign i very well concluded she is just yes of PM. She as defence minister will be big disaster.

  9. So many strawman arguments, journalism has been absolutely destroyed by cultural marxists.
    Rafale is a tried and tested platform and the version made available to India by Dassault is too while the version of Typhoon with its endless list of developmental hurdles would have been a noose around IAF’s neck.

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