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Rafale deal is no scam. It’s just a glaring example of the BJP government’s pusillanimous, unimaginative, over-cautious and unsuccessful handling of defence purchases.

We now have sufficient evidence to say that there is a humongous scam in the Rafale deal. Except that this ‘scam’ is spelt as ‘stupidity’.

A picture of Shekhar Gupta, editor-in-chief of ThePrintIf you find ‘stupidity’ too strong, you can choose a euphemism if you think it adequately describes this breathlessly arrogant idea that you could refuse to answer any questions on the pricing of a nearly $10 billion deal by claiming a secrecy clause between two democratic governments where all spending is subject to parliamentary and audit scrutiny. Or with explanations that get ludicrous by the day.

Today’s arms bazaar carries almost no secrets about platforms, weapons and accessories. If you are buying the Meteor missile to go with the Rafale, not just the Pakistani and Chinese air forces, but any teenaged defence nerd with a smartphone can give you a tutorial on it. What you can, and must, keep secret in this is sensitive electronics and tactics. Even the ballpark price of a Meteor missile, the Israeli 360-degree helmet for the pilot, is widely discussed in open-source military literature. There was no harm in discussing it in public and no reason to hide it. Except arrogance: How dare anybody question us in a defence deal? Are we like the Congress in the Bofors decade?


Also read: ‘Teflon’ Modi plus national security—BJP’s strategy to counter Congress on Rafale


Now the BJP is realising how, post-Bofors, any government making a big defence purchase must expect to be called a thief. It can deal with the problem in one of three ways. First, the A.K. Antony way: Just don’t buy anything, and ban all private global armament companies. The only major purchases made were purely government-to-government, with Russia, where there is no transparency of pricing or competition and a few non-lethal systems from the US. Second, set up a transparent procedure, buy boldly, but be willing to answer questions that will inevitably arise. Or third, you buy like a monarch, bypass all ‘boring’ procedure like the Cabinet Committee on Security and other formalities, make big headlines on a foreign visit, and then contemptuously decline to answer any questions. This is serial, arrogant stupidity, and shows how the Modi government has dug a hole for itself.

With each passing day, the government is digging itself deeper into this hole. The latest excuse for not proceeding with the earlier deal of 126 Rafales, 108 of which were to be manufactured by the holy PSU monopoly, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is that it didn’t have the back-end infrastructure.

Now, no company in the world would be immediately ready with assembly lines for a specific foreign fighter aircraft. Any reasonable person would know that HAL would still be better equipped for licenced production than any other company because that is mostly all—regrettably—that it has done in all these monopoly decades, and not particularly efficiently. But nobody would diss a defence PSU. It is a different story that India missed a great opportunity during the Vajpayee years when the IAF wanted to shift the entire Mirage-2000 assembly line to India. It would have had HAL ready for the Rafale, but George Fernandes, then Tehelka-hit, was wary of a ‘single-vendor’ buy.

For some reason the government won’t state the simple truth, that a purchase as large as 126 Rafales was unaffordable, that it would have vacuumed the budgets from the Army and the Navy and that, for now, two squadrons were considered sufficient. Nobody’s willing to say that HAL wasn’t dumped to favour somebody else, but because you scaled down the order and gave up co-production? Why, it beats me. Unless the logic is, why speak the truth when it is so much sexier to spin a web of nonsense and trap yourself in it.

Then, the alibi: An emergency purchase had to be made as the IAF force levels had fallen to dangerous levels. That fact has been well-known for 15 years. This aircraft requirement was first mooted in 2001. This Rafale deal is a great commentary on the inability of a nation with super power fantasies to buy for its Air Force a couple of fighter squadrons that were critically needed two decades ago. Even these two Rafale squadrons won’t be fully battle-worthy until 2022. A government or a “system” (since it is irrespective of who’s in power) as incompetent as India’s should either outsource its national security to a bigger power, or give away Kashmir and Arunachal to Pakistan and China, respectively, demilitarise, and save all that money for health and education.

One of the engines that powered Narendra Modi’s conquest in 2014 was his promise of a tough, decisive national security policy. He accused the UPA of being waffling and woolly-headed and weakening the armed forces by being too scared to buy new weapons for them. People believed him then, because he was right. The same people, therefore, are justified to ask him what has he done, with just months left for his full term, to rectify this.

The answer can’t be a few defence Make in India tamashas and air shows. The amount of FDI in defence manufacturing is so ridiculously low, not even a few million, that we are embarrassed to mention it. This government has been as pusillanimous, unimaginative, over-cautious and unsuccessful as the UPA. It is just that the UPA had never promised any better, but the BJP did.

The Rafale will surely be flying in Indian skies next year. These two squadrons will duly come up. But the way the BJP government has botched this will cast a shadow on defence acquisitions in the years to come. And defence Make in India? It was, very unfortunately, dead on arrival when you carried in your wake one among India’s most controversial corporate houses as a beneficiary from India’s biggest defence deal in decades.

This, when this country is yet to see any private sector company make anything major for the military. Even that will take getting used to in a country which took half a decade accepting private airline and phone companies. And when a corporate almost guaranteed to leave a trail of controversy and litigation with many of its projects pops up in pictures and television footage, even in an aviator’s livery at the Bengaluru air show, and makes press releases claiming tens of thousands of crores of manufacturing deals as “offsets” for a brand new venture in defence, you should expect trouble. Now, when you say he will not manufacture even a screw for the Rafale, or that the orders he gets from Dassault under these “offsets” will be no more than Rs 6,000-12,000 crore and mostly to make wings for the Falcon, a popular executive jet Rafale makes, you are indeed speaking the truth. But it doesn’t matter. People will believe what they want to believe and they will compare this with the company’s boast earlier.


Also read: He had everything, but Modi missed a brilliant chance to fix the messy Indian military


The final act of self-destructive absurdity in this list of serial stupidities was the string of “cease-and-desist” lawyer’s notices the corporate sent out to media houses and journalists (this writer included) somehow believing that everybody will be silenced in shock and awe. I don’t know what has caused more damage to the government’s case on Rafale, the exaggerated claims of offset beneficiary, or this incredibly arrogant notice. Governments will muddle along, but sadly, both actions damage the IAF, and the dream of defence Make in India.

Any major defence deal in this benighted city, crawling with defence agents, fixers, corporate lobbyists and self-styled ‘subjantawalas’ (know-alls) is bound to be called a scam. In the post-Bofors decades, every government has spun more complex layers of procedures to escape just such an opprobrium. None has succeeded in achieving such immunity, and none can. The Modi government had the opportunity to change this with transparency, disclosure and engagement. It has blown it.

Check out My543, our comprehensive report card of all Lok Sabha MPs.


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77 COMMENTS

  1. I have the good fortune of reading it late and have the advantage of reading it after the Supreme Court quashed all the petitions relating to Rafale deal. Good fortune because reading biased articles under the guise of skepticism should be avoided till author gets irrefutable proof of one’s erraneous thought processes. Advantage because now I can laugh at the monumental stupidity of the article.

  2. Sir,

    There is actually a concentration of the powers with a single man. He( has many qualities. But his balance assessment is limited. Clothes are too much big, for him. He has no vision of the future. He not maybe neither Kissinger, nor Tchou-en-Lai. By entrusting him missions which are not of his competence, we empty competence of certain ministries. We consolidate the idea that the questions related to the security and to the foreign policy are exercised in reality by administration staff, which did not receive a mandate from the people. In brief we continue in the line inaugurated in 1947, namely that these questions are handled by a circle restricted to bureaucrats! We need to define clearly the foreign policy of the country, as well as its defense policy. The concentration of the powers is only masking the absence of a clear vision on these policies. But where are the politics capable of having such a vision?

  3. You regret that HAL is not up to the mark. Do you know the reason behind it? Can someone tell why it is essential that Government employees must be citizens of India? Why can’t we hire great scientists and engineers from abroad? Or why NRIs are not given a chance to work in public undertakings? Instead of paying foreign companies, let us pay to the brilliant brains.
    Many countries such as South Korea and Japan are ready to collaborate with India for fighter planes. We should avail their offers. Air warfare can’t be decided by Air Force pilots alone. Many competing technologies such as guided missiles have to be considered. This has to be done by strategic experts of all wings of military.

  4. Shekhar Ji, I had a read a fawning piece you had written about the Arjun tank back when I was in my teens. We know how well that went. Regardless of the merits of this article, we have to remember that the NDA government cleaned up a messy deal that the UPA had put into place. Your article does not make that clear, and the tone of it sounds as if this was completely of this government’s making. The fact that they were partially able to salvage this deal and get our force some respite is, to me, good enough for now. We should just be buying more Sukhois anyway, that is the untold reality.

  5. Shekhar you consider yourself to be such an intellectual person and all but I cudnt understand hw handing over Kashmir to Pak and Arunachal to China solve our security issues? How cn u say v won’t require armed forces if we did so?
    Come on man! I didnt think you would be so stupid to write such a thing…
    As soon as I read tht line I came to know the “stupidity” is not in the govt handling of the Rafale deal but in your Article.

  6. Shekhar Gutha calling yhis Rafale deal “Stupid” ? Then rest assured this must be the most intelligent and bold decision by this Government. Thanks Shekhar for enlightenment.

  7. Shekar ji what you’re asking is to tell everyone that

    How many meteor , scalp missiles purchased , what electronic suites have been used as per India specific requirement and how many spares and critical equipment needed to keep the fleet at 75% availability

    These kind of questions raising doubts on scamgress and opposition parties

    Are you people working for India or you want to help Chinese and Pakistan with the Info

  8. This is very sad to see that Indians are so myopic in their views, that they are blind to see the conspiracy in not apply this episode but overall in broader context. Recently what SC ruling has made it very clear that indian scientist Mr Nambiar was falsely incriminated and is evident to any logical person that this was done to derail cryogenic technology development. Now the question is whether those 3 police officers could have had the guts to engage in such anti-national gameplan without support from their political masters. This again leads to question who was in power in State and Centre. Now the enquiry will take years and finally not give proper answers as history shows that politicians are never punished in this country, however we all know in our concious that Left people who have always supported in anti India agendas are responsible. now question is why Centre Govt did not take any strong action in supporting the scientists than, so it clearly shows there was some collision between some powerful people in Centre and State Government. Now again the question again arises why did these people help in foreign conspiracies, was any hefty payments were made to them by foreign powers.
    Now let us come to Rafael, let’s talk logically. INC tells that a single plane should have costed Ra.540 crs. I will ask you Mr Rahul Gandhi and 1 billion Indians what’s the cost of a single Boeing or Airbus plane. Isn’t is in range of 500 -1000 crores depending on model. Now compare them with fighter jets. These passanger jets fly at just 400-500 KM’s an hour, their are no armaments, no onboard electronic warfare and counter measures, overall technology is much lower in comparison to fighter jets. Now some people will tell that trucks are more expensive than passenger cars. However I have simple reply Rafael s are no marutis or Hyundai’s, they are like Lamborghini’s. If you want Maruti class, restart the assembly line for Mig 21s and induct them in 100s. But don’t waste precious time of Indian public in non sensical controversies.
    In my opinion only mistake in the deal is that Indian should have include transfer of technology and licensed for unlimited production in India, setting up a new assembly line for rafaels, as we cannot trust HAL in development of Tejas MK-2, leave alone AMCA looking at their past hoplus records.

  9. You are right in saying that we mucked up pretty much everything by not taking up the munificent Mirage package deal during the Vajpayee years when the IAF wanted to get Dassault to shift the entire Mirage-2000 assembly line to India. France and Dassault repeatedly reminded the Govt that the clock was winding down, but to no avail. After the assembly line was shut down, we asked them for a dozen odd Mirage ac as we had formed a third Squadron and needed ac to sustain it. France is not Russia-they showed us two fingers.

    However, I cannot agree with you that
    it would have had HAL ready for the Rafale. France put into words what professionals in the IAF have maintained since 1966-HAL is a gargantuan white elephant and a voracious 40,000-worker strong parasite that cannot even manufacture a mobike. DRDO is no better where ac are concerned. They are still not ready with the Tejas, 35 years after getting the go-ahead and bucket loads of money. They couldn’t even copy the GE-404 engine (that powers the F-18 Hornet) and create the Kaveri! The five
    or six Tejas flying today are using the 404 engine. (We have 54 such engines today). Russia did copy it, with much poorer metallurgy, named it the Klimov RD-33 and are using it on the MiG-29, but without the FADEC (fully automated digital engine computer).

    France is not a stupid country. They watched us screw up the Mirage 2000 Christmas Present (offer) and were willing to let go their most lucrative deal ever on principle, rather than accept a clause which stated that HAL could produce and sell the Rafale in the future.

    It is very difficult for non-defence people to understand the cost factor in a modern ac deal. And I include both politicians and your good self. The Rs. 59,000 package is not for the ac alone, but for myriad accompanying infrastructural costs. The Mission Simulator itself costs around Rs. 6,000 crore. The radar and laser labs and repair workshops will also cost a pretty package. Advanced weapons and their storage will also hit us hard.You have written about the Meteor, but you don’t seem to know about far more advanced weaponry that will follow the Rafale induction. You redeem yourself somewhat with your next line on electronics and tactics. That is a crucial must. I cannot see any space for a scam. I will stick my neck out and reiterate that this is one deal that is entirely scam free.

    Going ahead, if the 36 ac were hypothetically reduced to 24, a 33% cut, the Rs. 59,000 figure would not also drop by 33% to Rs. 39,000. It would reduce to around Rs. 48,000, an 18-19% cut. I believe that Mr Modi has struck an excellent deal, as explained infra.

    I am surprised that you haven’t figured out that all these signs indicate that we are planning to buy at least 36 more ac, which will cost about Rs. 35-40,000 core, factoring in the date, technological advances and inflation.
    There is another factor that must be considered, viz., US pressure in buying their junk F-16 or F-18 ac.

    Incidentally, the 126 ac buy was my idea. I am from the first batch of IAF pilots who were trained in France in 84-85. I had started with a comprehensive paper on the need for 88 Mirage 2000 upgraded ac, 33 two- seaters and 55 single seaters, approved by the Air Chief, but a think tank later felt that 88 would fall short and reached a figure of 126. Some ace blindly carried over this figure to the far more capable Rafale. We don’t need 126 of them. My assessment, for what it’s worth, is 84+ the standard 10% war reserve, i.e., 92. Rafale Sqns will probably have only 12 ac each, with six Sqns in the field.

    A word about the Rafale’s nearest competitor, the more expensive Typhoon. Germany had to perforce buy 128. Can you hazard a guess as to how many of these 128 are operational? Last month, the figure confronting Ms Merkel was ONE. This week, it is FOUR. Only 39 are flyworthy
    as blind bats, whereas the Rafale soldiers on comfortably, having lost only six ac in 15 years of intensive flying. So our analysts did a good job in selecting the Rafale, actually streets ahead of all competition.

    As Christina Rossetti asks: Who has seen the wind?

  10. This is very sad to see that Indians are so myopic in their views, that they are blind to see the conspiracy in not apply this episode but overall in broader context. Recently what SC ruling has made it very clear that indian scientist Mr Nambiar was falsely incriminated and is evident to any logical person that this was done to detail cryogenic technology development. Now the question is whether those 3 police officers could have had the guts to engage in such anti-national gameplan without support from their political masters. This again leads to question who was in power in State and Centre. Now the enquiry will take years and finally not give proper answers as history shows that politicians are never punished in this country, however we all know in our concious that Left people who have always supported in anti India agendas are responsible. now question is why Centre Govt did not take any strong action in supporting the scientists than, so it clearly shows there was some collision between some powerful people in Centre and State Government. Now again the question again arises why did these people help in foreign conspiracies, was any hefty payments were made to them by foreign powers.
    Now let us come to Rafael, let’s talk logically. INC tells that a single plane should have costed Ra.540 crs. I will ask you Mr Rahul Gandhi and 1 billion Indians what’s the cost of a single Boeing or Airbus plane. Isn’t is in range of 500 -1000 crores depending on model. Now compare them with fighter jets. These passanger jets fly at just 400-500 KM’s an hour, their are no armaments, no onboard electronic warfare and counter measures, overall technology is much lower in comparison to fighter jets. Now some people will tell that trucks are more expensive than passenger cars. However I have simple reply Rafael s are no marutis or Hyundai’s, they are like Lamborghini’s. If you want Maruti class, restart the assembly line for Mig 21s and induct them in 100s. But don’t waste precious time of Indian public in non sensical controversies.
    In my opinion only mistake in the deal is that Indian should have include transfer of technology and licensed for unlimited production in India, setting up a new assembly line for rafaels, as we cannot trust HAL in development of Tejas MK-2, leave alone AMCA looking at their past hoplus records.

    • Sir,
      Very strange and mindboggling !

      HAL with vast experience in this stream cannot be trusted but Anil Ambani with zero experience can be trusted just for “Offset”
      bounty ! What a sound argument and rationale ?

      Gentleman, I do not have an iota of doubt what either NaMo or Nirmala Sitharaman could not put forth in defence of the Rafale Fighter Aircraft deal you have at least said very comprehensively may be farfetched from logic !

      Therefore, you deserve MoS for Defence position as a minimum incentive for this “subjective ” stance !

      Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
      Pom Anm Nest,Barnala (Punjab)

  11. Mr Gupta so why don’t you do a start up business making arms for the defense by going through your smart phone instead of writing such a stupid article.

  12. First of all if the BJP govt in 2004 brought mirage 2000 assembly line, there would hv been no MMRCA requirement at all.

    MMRCA is here because Vajpayee govt refused to be drawn into single vendor situation , with no competitive bids, which will lead only to scams.

    Reliance is not even making a screw for IAF rafales.

    Reliance Dassault jv is for making parts to french civilian jet Falcon.

    As per off set agreements foreign suppliers are free to choose indian vendors for offset partners.

    No need for prior GOI approval.

    Approval from govt will be sought later.

    So as of now GOI hasn’t approved reliance Dassault jv

    What Mohan guruswamy won’t tell is another major offset niche is awarded to GTRE SNECMA(safron) for kaveri jet engine JV.,

    Which was rejected by UPA , under the advice of a committee headed by same Air marshal Matheswaran

  13. Modi govt has a much better record on defence deals..ill name a few..
    1 SPG from korea..manufactured by l and t..ready fr induction
    2 M777 howitzer….co production in india
    3. Apache and chinook helos…indian companies now part of supply chain
    4. Ballistic helmets for infantry..inducted
    5. Scorpenes inducted
    6. Missile tracking ship
    7. Rafales
    8. More t 90s
    9. Astra missile inducted
    10. Tejas in squadron service

    Sir its not a bad track record…
    Most of rafale scam is just inuendo..u knw it…but ull spin it this way

  14. How dare you question the Great One? The King can do no wrong ! Even Rijuju’s Nostradamus had foreseen the arrival of this Savior of 500 crore Indians ! Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and die ! You’re guilty of sacrilege of the BPJ Hindus and of sedition of Modi’s India !

  15. The moment, I read the statement that one determine the price and details of a weapons u using a smart phone, I stopped reading further. Why then do we need an IAF and all it’s technical team.
    I realized who is stupid quickly..

  16. Article reflects the frustration Congress is in for jumping guns against BJP for a “stupid” accusation of scam when there is none! They should’ve realized it when French Government snubbed their accusations. Good attempt by Shekhar Gupta but its too late in the day and people saw through their fake attempts to weaken the country’s defence acquisition.

  17. How ppl will come to know corruption until all the departments handled by so called BJP. If it is not scam then why HAL not chosen for this? Read about HAL’s infrastructure…First government should have worked for its infrastructure. When there is BSNL why Jio was much supported by our currupt free Mr PM?.
    No wonder after some years if ISRO is owned by Ambani or Adani….!
    This government meant for corporate not for middle-class….!

  18. 1) As per guptaji , in today’s era secrecy of any kind does not stand because all knows all.
    2) As per Gupta ji, This is not scam , but stupidity. Because NDA purchased it , UPA doesn’t. please clear whether purchasing is stupidity or not purchasing for ten years and leaving it for next govt .
    3) if you are true journalist , please research that why UPA abondened ten long year procedure to buy 126 aircraft and leaving it for Modi govt to purchase. and why Modi govt didn’t proceeded with ten long year exercise ? and now tender again floated for 135 aircraft . if you sincerely , with any bias , research it then certainly you will find that UPA negotiation have certain lapses while negotiating with add-on purchases. During add-on purchase it was observed that L1 Become L2. it may be true or false . Better you research on this point.

  19. First of all I am searching that after The Wire , From where this “The print ” came . After searching I came to know that journalist s are the outcomes of the biggest anti bjp Ndtv . Now I don’t have to do any comment regarding this. Because your facts and your statements will only against the govt . And for you people the leaders should be Rahul gandhi . You really don’t deserves to have Pm like Shri Narendra modi ji.

    • Sir,
      There seems to be a slip of either your pen or fingers on the key board !
      Please do not mind, NaMo does not deserve to be the Prime Minister at all !

      Instead of discharging his duties and responsibilities as the PM, applying his
      mind seriously and attentively on burning and sensitive issues of national
      importance , he is seen in a school with a broom stick for ” hollow photo session.”

      The Demonetisation Disaster,Erratic -Whimsical Execution of GST and Banks NPAs
      Bungling issue has awfullly exposed NaMo ! Why is there no action against bank loan
      defaulters ?

      Because of his ill- conceived,ill-planned and ill-executed decision of demonetisation
      more than one hundred fifty innocent persons lost their lives standing in queues to get
      their own cash money infront of banks, lakhs rendered unemployed and masses unduly
      subjected to untold, uncertain woes, hardships and difficulties for no fault of their own !
      How much blackmoney stands unearthed ? Who is responsible for more than one hundred
      fifty deaths during DEMONETISATION phase in the nation ?

      Does such a man deserve to be in the hot seat again, just think with a cool and calm mind ?
      Just see, how NaMo is feeling like a fish out of water to be in the PM Chair for the second time?

      I can cite many more lapses of the authoritarian regime but the aforementioned should be enough
      for you for your satisfaction !

      Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
      Pom Anm Nest, Barnala(Punjab)

  20. Absolutely bullshit article. The writer has no damn idea of defence deals and his article is just baseless. Good try though for pro communist anti BJP propaganda

  21. Mr. Shekar Gupta ji.. you claimed to have some nerd can tell you about the Meteor misslie and 360 degree pilot gear.. well i hope you watch some Hollywood movies… Like Iron-Man or batman.. they discuss more technologies there and also will give you the demo of them, if not there also a concept of Goggle glass/Microsoft holo lense to name a few.

    But how you are going to know what technology is practical for specific task. how much enhancement was done to a part of the technology, what frequency the radio will operate, the thershold value of the rotary blades.. if that’s hard for you tell me these.. what will be the top speed of the planes, what will be the resolution of camera fitted in the plane, what will be the maximum operation time of the plane, how many parachute are provided for pilot.

    Don’t get me wrong, i’m not a blind believer of Modi or BJP, and also at certain points pissed on the govt. but UPA isn’t the kind of government i would like to have. Atleast NDA has given me less chances to be pissed of on the government.

    I respectfully disagree with your post above.. and would suggest you to please open a civics book of 8th grade and have look at “Duties which comes with freedom”.

    For you it’s quiet easy to wrtie for a individual, but if it’s that easy could you tell me how many Sukhoi engines were delivered by HAL in past 10 years of UPA, or how many Other planes were fully repaired by them in time..

    also while you are at it, let me know if you can find a nerd who can give a detailed description and use of the Hi-Tech you mentioned in your post or his blog will also do. I would really like to read them.

  22. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala(Punjab)

    Shekhar Sahib,
    I am of the conviction now that the popular column ” NATIONAL INTEREST ” must change its contours in the light
    of innovating times and themes ! Instead of devoting too much time and space to one issue alone, it is high and ripe time to address
    burning and sensitive issues staring India in the face in bulk and abundance ! The problem of plenty haunts the country too much !

    Moreover,it is so because the nation nowadays is passing through a very crucial and critical phase where decline of democracy into mass democracy is ironically paving way for maladies of demagoguery, idiocy, ugliness, hollow populism,claptrap,propaganda and meanest of human impulses to raise their monstrous heads on the Indian scene !

    Now those at the helm of affairs of Indian Polity are not only at their wits end but they lack the “political will power,” vision, competence and calibre to deliver the goods ! Their more than four years at the steering has made things very crystal clear that they have lost the moorings !

    Neither they know the art of doing things of their own nor they like to fall back upon expertise, rich experience and tested hands in the best national interests ! They only believe in quantity not in quality as is evident from BJP Chief’ Amit Shah’s long leaping forecast of ruling the country for at least fifty years !

    What a pity, Prime Minister Modi who himself signed the “Rafale Fighter Aircraft Altered -Overturned Deal” in France in the year 2015, till date (2018) has not been able to take the deal to its logical conclusion ! The ruling dispensation has not been able to come out clean convincingly out of the Rafale Fighter Aircraft deal stigma and blot ! Why is it hankying pankying the facts about the set proovisions and procedures laid down in the system for hammering the deal ?

    What has been the fate of the NaMo’s brain child decision of Demonetisation announced on November. 08,2016 ! While announcing it himself on TV Channels’ Prime Time he had himself stipulated the objectives of this decision ! Why is NaMo now escaping public audience on the Demonetisation Disaster ? Why Mr.Rajiv Kumar was fielded to defend the failure of Demonetisation why not he himself in November 08 style ? On Banks NPAs ticklish issue the Union Finance Minister Jaitley is running short of arguments ! What is the fun of passing on blame for even if a dog barks in a “Banaras Bazar ” on Congress Party when Congress had to face the music of suffering worst ever poll debacle in its battle of ballot box annals in 2014 shrinking to just 44 seats ?

    Stupid talk of ruling for fifty years, as it is easier said than done ! Has not just rule of almost more than four years left the duo high and dry dashing the masses hopes to the ground !

    Amazingly, the duo of NaMo and Amit Shah nourish lofty ambitions and desires but so far as deserving is concerned they have proved that they fall nowhere near it ! Their only and only religion is to cling to power by hook or crook for ” impossible ” decades together !
    Harping on ploys, theatrics, lies, rhetorics and tall promises they believe in marking time and beating about the bush !

    The duo must admit that the electorate did offer them ” a golden opportunity ” to rewrite the destinty of the nation but they very badly
    frittered away that chance which came their way too by chance !

    Noneelse is to blame but they themselves as they stand awfullly exposed in the eyes of the people who are now determined not to repeat the blunder they committed in the year 2014 !

    In 2019, they have firmly made up their mind to rid India of megalomaniac and authoritarian regime !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala(Punjab)

  23. What shekhar Gupta thinks of himself always criticising BJP govt he gets every freedom of speech and criticising govt still democracy is in danger certain group never help but only critisize

  24. Mr.Prime minister and his lieutenant BJP president seems of the opinion that this country will endorse their 60 months misrule in 2019. They think that “Beggers can’t be choosers” and are living happily in ‘fool’s paradise’. Indian voters are keeping all track of misdeeds of present day government ,and will have the “last laugh”. This government has forgotten development plank on which being given majority and now ruling the country by encouraging devisive forces. Incompetence & destructive mindset of ruling party is in full galore.Modiji has proved beyond doubt by his style of functioning and misendevours that it was a mistake to entrust him . Indian democracy got another huge jolt with experimenting with him.*Indeed a sorry state*

    • once you open your eyes you will see the development, this has been the best Govt wehave had in years, especially the poor, and the entire world will vouch for it….

  25. Shekhar ji, cleverly you are giving fodder to BJP to cover up. Word jugglary won’t work. Come out with honesty and show the real face of Jumlebaj.

  26. Dear Mr. Columnists, thanks for letting know to aam admi by your buddhijivee brain. But at the same time please let know the aam admi of our country as how PREVIOUS UPA HAS WEAKENED NATIONAL SECURITY BY SCRAPPING THE RAFAEL DEAL … Once again thanks.

  27. Having failed in manufacturing a scam and associated kick-backs in a government to government deal, the Congress and its known sycophants like the author of this article, a softened stand is now being rejigged as bad negotiations , but like the dog’s bark, the tirade continuese despite few takers to their theory of scam.

  28. Absolutely agree with everything you’ve said Shekharji… This government had the mandate to prove themselves to be different but they’ve blown several opportunities due to ego and over confidence. Such a disappointment.

  29. Its better..for any big purchase..let opposition party b member of the purchase committee as well member fŕom CVC..so all transparencies will b there and action fast.

  30. How do you know, what nerds explain is everything and correct? If it is a mutual agreement of secrecy how can India alone break it? Dosn’t France know about the knowledge level of these defense enthusiasts? Even if both countries are bluffing about some secret weapons and systems, it still serves a purpose.
    Make is India dream is high on priority list of the govt. that’s why they pushed the almost dead tejas project.

  31. There is some thing which nirmala sitaraman is hideing , how come she is changing her statement on daily basis and bringing new lies and story everyday. Problem with puppet is that they exactly follow their master.

  32. Dear author – Please make a correction. It is Dassault, not Rafale that makes the Falcon executive private jet.

    Dassault Falcon – Private jet.

    Dassault Rafale – jet fighter.

  33. Shekhar ,
    You seem to have lost courage to call a spade a spade . Don’t dilute corruption by calling it stupidity . Bofors deal was not stupidity so is Rafael ….

  34. The difference of 1000cr between UPA & NDA PRICE cannot be explained by India specific changes.

    The price negotiating committee must explain how life cycle cost were calculated.

    Now the F35 stealth fighter is cheaper as R&D costs have been monatised

  35. I hope the author and the editors in ‘The Print ‘ have seen the documents on Rafale deal which the Indian Government has classified as Confidential before publishing their opinions.Media or Press is considered as the fourth pillar of Indian democracy.If you understands the meaning of this stop writing stupid articles and file a case in the court to examin the facts of the deal.

  36. Why did we not re negotiate with German offer for 20%. Discount.

    Rafale was desperate for indian tender for their production line….they would have been forced to match the European typhoon offer as L1. ELSE WE COULD HAVE SPLIT THE ORDER 64 PLANES FROM BOTH

  37. Shekhar Gupta, you and your ilk! I understand that you and pidi are fighting for the same bone(choose your own euphemism). Good luck.
    Yet another botched attempt to malign Modi and dear, have faith in judiciary and Public accounts committee.

  38. Guptaji,of all persons you are defending the government especially this case.Ever since this BJP government came into power they have been favouring few industrialists especially Ambani Adanis only and when it happens you tend to smell rat.

  39. Shekhar Guptaji ke paas aur koi kaam nai hai.
    I have seen our so called highly educated Indian intellectuals never ever contributed to the development of our society, but they will definitely the good things about any government or any person who do something good for our society and our country.
    Ye mahan hastiya kabi bi Kashmir ke pandit ke liye Kuch nai bolenge, hamare soldiers Jo mar Rahe hai lOC par unke liye Kuch nai bolenge, terrorism ke baare Mai Kuch nai bolenge. Sirji agar Kuch Acha Karna hai to koi social cause par bolo na ki hamesa MODI MODI ki maala jaapo. Modiji aap Jaise paadelikhe gavaro se bahut Acha hai Jo apane baare Mai nai sochta aap ki Tarah.
    HATS OFF FOR U SIRJI, KEEP IT UP…

  40. So difficult to know what is right and what is wrong.Is these defence purchases are so complex.Why not check our requirements with available products and just buy them?Please explain , any knowledgeable personality.Thanks.

  41. People are educated. Check at what price Qatar bought 24 plane and compare it with India’s 36. Also Hal as poor record that’s why dasault decided to work with ambhanis way back in 2011. This means congress favoured ambhanis ?

  42. There was a favour extended by Modi to save Bankrupt Ambani junior by dumping defense PSU. Now is this not called crony capitalism for helping a 10 day old company to bag a madsive deal at the cost of defense PSU. It is called corruption too if lawyers take it up in SC and 2019 is not far off for public to know how ambanis are getting benefitted at the cost of tax payer.

  43. Indian Soldiers fought 1962 War with China with 3.3 Bolt Action Rifles and got BUTCHERED by Chinese Soldiers with Semi-Automatic Rifles. # By buying only 36 Rafale Fighter Aircraft against a requirement of 126 Fighters, Indian Politicians are ensuring, Indian Airforce get BUTCHERED by Chinese and Pakistan Airforce.

  44. Sir, please do your research before writing such articles. Dassault is in talks with approximately 72 various defence companies in India (including HAL) and negotiations are still on for deciding a company with which it would be partnering in India. As the deal (with which company it would tie up) is still not finalized by Dassault itself, hence the government cannot technically comment on this matter. More over, according to the deal signed, 50% of the amount of the deal has to be invested in India through locally buying parts, etc and the clause also reads that 75% of the aircrafts should be in flying condition at any point, that automatically makes this deal a fairly profitable deal for india as our locally produced aircrafts (sukhoi, etc), only 50% of them are in flying condition at any point of time (due to delayed maintenance, etc).
    It is sad to see you people writing such scathing articles without doing any research and that being sort of the only forte of yours. You have at length talked about how information is available online, use that platform yourselves sometimes.
    I am not trying to defend any government or anything, but yes, I am vehemently against the spreading of wrong news, which has increased so much in recent times that I have sort of lost faith in any news reported under Breaking News.

  45. The government could have called an in-camera meeting of the parliament and updated all the MPs on the Rafale deal. Those who refused to attend would have been exposed. But this government is too arrogant to consider any option other than confrontation.

  46. It’s waste of time to search for the fraud in modi govt which will never do like scamgress. So concentrate on issues of national importance and don’t act as anti Indian and pro fraudulent pseudo secularists

  47. What’s this author trying to imply. There should be nothing confidental?? He’s just out of his mind. Please don’t take this article seriously.

  48. Hi shekhar sir,

    Finally an honest and well researched article.
    So kudos for that.
    Not many people have come close to explaining what you did. Not even Ms. Sitharaman herself.

    But I disagree when you said make in india is dead.
    Here’s why:
    1. If you order a Kamov from Russia it’s going to be 2.5 times cheaper than what it would cost you to build that in india, because you’d have a build an assembly line. So make in india is expensive and it will take place in stages often lasting decades but it’s a One time cost. So when india needs another army of chopper squadrons in future it wouldn’t be that tough and costly to get it. So maybe with rafale offsets going to random private player ain’t that bad. Tatas, mahindras, godrej are all there. Now ambani. Be rest assured that he wouldn’t set fire to his factory after he’s done finishing this order. (Very unlikely though )

    2. The defence ecosystem being developed, if strategic partner model works, for stupid offsets and other deals, it will be IN india, not in modi or ambanis garden, the factories set up, even if it’s for manufacturing small specialized parts like fuselage assembly parts of a Sikorsky chopper in tata’s plant in hyderabad. Will happen here. I think we need Lockheed Martin , Northrop Grumman, Boeing of india, private players, someone has to start it and be the bad guy, Because then how would one start making in india, if there are no big ticket profitable defence requirements for private folks in india, is there an alternate solution ?

    2. The Availability of such OEMs locally will help india in future, when it needs such experienced human talent, systems and a formalized set up to take up the demand. Should it come, the two front war.

    3. Technology transfer, re-engineering, modding opportunities, financially cheap to scale up and match two neighbours combined.

    I’m no expert, but a geek with a phone like you mentioned in your article.

    But I don’t think the rafale deal could have been dealt differently from what modi did. I’m not a blind bhakt. Infact I’m Not a fan of, like you also mentioned, how and what they said/disclosed, not disclosed afterwards. It was stupid. A la rahul gandhi style almost.

    Yours truly,
    An educated 26 year old indian.

    P.s. sorry for ranting, and not having a structure, I actually typed this on the small box in the phone. Please spare the grammatical typo error.

  49. Author seems to be obsessed of govt. Even if there is no hide out it is courtesy to keep secret . We all know how a lady become mother. The only way is the matching of semen with eggs of female either by sex or ivf but what it means?
    I think something I stated may be clear for the writer.

  50. So now you are an defense analyst……interesting now a days reporters are growing brains at a rapid rate than scientists at respective field…………..

    OVERGROWN CHILD suits you

  51. Exactly, it is incumbent on a govt. voted to power on fighting corruption to stick to transparency, disclosure and engagement to change the widely accepted perception that kickbacks have to be part and parcel of any defense deal.The hush ..hush.. thing is very disappointing given the choice of the offset partner whose competence and credibility is nothing to crow about .

  52. The government’s case needs to be presented with far greater clarity and conviction. To say that backend infrastructure – is that hangars in simple English ? – is insufficient for 126 jets, or that HAL – which has built a thousand supersonic jets – cannot manufacture the Ragale or, most surprisingly, that the government does not “ need to engage with the Opposition on this matter “, this is not the very effective spokesperson for her party we saw five, six years ago.

  53. “A government or a “system” (since it is irrespective of who’s in power) as incompetent as India’s should either outsource its national security to a bigger power, or give away Kashmir and Arunachal to Pakistan and China, respectively, demilitarise, and save all that money for health and education.”

    Bravo Shekar, so well said with savage brilliance. How I wish we had another 100 journalists of your calibre.

    We go about tom-tomming so much about corruption, while not noticing the humongous incompetence in all the “systems” of this banana-super-power-aspirant.

  54. No matter which way any defense deal is done, Congress has to find some corruption in it near election time to embarrass BJP and to take revenge of corruption charges which BJP leveled on them earlier during the last election. However, people are not convinced that any bribe has been taken or prices are very high. So eventually, voters are not affected. It is just a media debate based on accusations being hurled by opposition.

    • There is a dire need to deploy additional squadrons to match with needed Air Defense security.
      My piece of thought:
      First – Let the purchase happen to fulfill Defense priority needs.
      Second – Let the scrutiny take place on parallel notes to ensure that the transaction was transparent and no corruption was involved

      If there was no corruption involved, let Supreme Court give strong message to opposition members. And if there was any, very very strong penalties and punishment to be awarded. What’s there to fear! Modi to me is clean and so may be many others at various positions. But can I say this for every member in ruling party?

      Not only this, all past cases of corruption to be brought up and all involved members (directly or in-directly) to be sentenced to rigorous punishment apart from sealing all their unlawful property earnings.

      There should be a strong message to upcoming generations that corruption is a dirty mindset and even falsifying others is a disgusting practice. Countries like Japan have grown immensely because of their culture preservation through individual families and positive attitude (education is the key).

      After so many years of India Independence, we should have reached over the mark of poverty line, been self-reliant and growing. Instead we still talk about people being poor. Yes, it is true, many many people are poor in attitude, vision, mutual respect, culture and humanity. Less of money in pocket is only a small part of being poor.

      Short term gains of power and position will pull down the nation. And death will leave all these behind. The only thing that will get carried forward is the value addition we did selflessly.

      I love my country and all my country people. We as individuals, will have difference in opinions and the only way to go ahead is to do our service. If we expect anything in return, we are not doing service but performing business.
      Many voters in India still cannot see the big picture of growth which starts from a miniature start, but the immediate gain to fulfill their short term need & greed. Therefore, education has to spread big time to develop the ability to differentiate right and wrong.

      The first thing Britishers did to conquer India for long time ruling was to kill all education system…diminishing the ability to comprehend right from wrong. We have to bring it back through our multiple small efforts of taking it at our home, neighbors and work place.

      If we want to see our nation grow, we ourselves have to make efforts and not leave everything on others.
      Jai Hind

  55. A country where farmers are commuting suicides just cannot afford Rafale. Anthony way was the right way for wrong reasons. Postpone war till we are a developed country and can afford luxuries like wars. May be then we may find there is nothing left to fight for.

  56. The issue is now sub-judice. If the opposition has any evidence against the government, it can join the writ petition and produce it in the court. I don’t think anything worthwhile can come out of the exercise. But in one sense, the author is right. India will continue to be the biggest importer of arms and weaponry and each purchase will trigger endless and futile political debates and corruption allegations. The crux of the allegations is that the oppositon wants to know the item-wise break up of prices. The overall cost is known, the price of bare aircraft is known. They now want to dig further, why? If the apex court desires, let the details be furnished in a sealed cover to the court. So far as scrapping of production at HAL is concerned, let us recognise that HAL has not been able to produce Tejas aircrafts in a long span of three decades. And now these will be done with engines designed in USA! With such a track record, it would seem that time and cost overruns are inevitable. Yes, choice of a group with potential NPA loans for the offset production is debatable. Dassault should be asked to reconsider the proposed tie up. However, one thing is certain. We shall be getting at least 36 Rafale planes. This is better than nothing, as was the case in the Congress regime.

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