Since the controversy over the agreement with Rafale broke out, most of the government’s firefighters have relied on two key claims: the new agreement signed with France by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was better than that of the Congress era and that would make India the fighter Advances faster. A report published in The Hindu newspaper on Wednesday said that at least three senior Ministry of Defense officials among the seven members of the Indian Negotiating Team vigorously challenged that view.
This is the latest in a series of stories published by the newspaper, arming the opposition, led by Rahul Gandhi and the Congress, with new attacks against the government. On Monday, The Hindu reported on the critical conditions for anti-corruption sanctions and an escrow account for payments that were withdrawn days before the agreement with Rafale was signed. Before that, he had reported on the objections of the Ministry of Defense to the “parallel negotiations” carried out by the Office of the Prime Minister.
The latest report cites the dissident note signed by three experts on the India team: MP Singh, Advisor (cost), a joint-level official of the Indian Cost Accounting Service; AR Sule, Financial Manager (Air); and Rajeev Verma, assistant secretary and procurement manager (air). The eight-page note was written more than a month after the team’s negotiations with the French side were completed and three months before the intergovernmental agreement was signed on September 23, 2016. PM Modi announced the agreement during a visit. to France in 2015.
“Commenting on the final cost of 7.87 billion euros of the new Rafale agreement, domain experts declared that” the reasonableness of the price offered by the French government is not established. Even the final price offered by the French government can not be considered as ‘better conditions’ “As compared to the MMRCA offer [medium multi-function combat aircraft] and, therefore, does not meet the requirement of the Joint Declaration” , says the report.
According to experts, the final price offered by the French government was 55.6 percent above the reference value decided in advance and “5.3 percent higher than the Aligned Cost of commercial quotations” in the congressional era agreement.
They also noted that the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft, which had also qualified for the contract, would have turned out to be much cheaper.
“They also concluded that the delivery schedule of even the first 18 of the 36 Rafale aircraft in the new agreement was slower than that offered for the 18 aircraft in the original procurement process,” The Hindu added.
While the congressional era agreement had set a 48-month limit on the delivery of the first 18 aircraft, the new agreement set the limit at 53 months, experts said. He demolished “the government’s arguments, transmitted both to parliament and to the Supreme Court.