The mystery on the Rafale Aircraft Deal is standing right there even after the deal has been moving around the governments and their leaders of India and France, various governmental institutions and their officials on both sides, weapon companies and their masters, media and independent journalists, civil society activists etc. Rather there is a over casting of darkness in the matter instead of being cleared. The over casting of darkness is being done because the government first misled the Supreme Court by stating that the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has been submitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Now when the report of the CAG has been introduced, it has also tried to dump the eyes of the Indian public and democracy. This report tells less, hides more and does not speak at all on certain facts related to the deal.
The Socialist Party believes that the CAG report has been prepared to cover the body of a government and a capitalist. No matter, by this deed of the government, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Finance may become uncovered and the Judiciary may bears accusation of wearing a blindfold and not knowing English, but the Prime Minister and his benevolent industrialist stay clear.
Referring to national security the CAG report has hidden the facts such as the price of an original plane, and how many types of equipments were installed in it and how much the total cost comes by installing them. The question is : why the CAG only conceals Rafale’s price where as it discloses the price of 10 deals out of 11 deals of the IAF it has mentioned in the report? Despite this, the CAG says that the NDA deal is 2.86 per cent cheaper than the emerging deal in the UPA’s bargain. It is believed that this conclusion of the CAG goes in favor of the Modi Government, at least emotionally. That has been probably the intention of the report. But this conclusion proves the statement of the powerful minister Arun Jaitley wrong which he gave in the parliament on January 2. Arun Jaitley had said that we have made this deal 9 percent cheaper than the UPA and the aircraft with equipments is 20 percent cheaper. According to CAG data, the Air Force’s total 11 deals worth 95,000 crore rupees. In this, the total value of 10 deals is 34,423 crore rupees. The report is silent right here. Now the conclusions can instinctively draw that the cost of the total deal of Rafale aircraft is Rs. 60,577 crore.
Further, there is a difference between the government and the CAG’s claims on the issue of bank guarantee or sovereign guarantee. The government says that the absence of bank guarantee in the deal is a saving for the government and, therefore, it carried out a cheaper deal. While the CAG says that it is the saving of France’s aircraft maker Dassault. The CAG also says that the aircraft had four special equipments installed for India, which was not needed. The CAG report says that in 2007, in lieu of advance payment, there was a provision of 15 percent bank guarantee. It had to go 5 percent on performance and 5 percent on warranty. The savings in this item were to be gone in the account of the Ministry of Defense but the CAG report did not look like this. The prices have been compared at 11 points in the report of CAG but prices have not been disclosed anywhere. Everywhere the percentages are mentioned. The CAG has claimed that the price has been increased on four points and reduced on three points. Surprisingly, what was the need for comparisons like this and if it has been done then why all details were not told and explained?
There is no mention in this report that how the deal originally made for 126 aircrafts suddenly arrived on 36 aircrafts? That is, how the strength of the IAF will be enhanced with 36 aircrafts instead of 126? It is also not mentioned in this report that why the contract for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) changed to Anil Ambani’s suddenly stacked company? That is, the lasting strength of India’s defense forces would be achieved by strengthening and renewing its own public sector enterprises or would this task of utmost importance be left to the profit-hungry foreign-domestic private companies and their brokers? One cannot expect from this CAG report that it will speak something about how the process of the deal was improperly influenced by the Prime Minister and his office, how the anti-corruption clauses were dropped, how the offshoot contract was awarded to Ambani’s Reliance Defense Limited and how the HAL was thrown out from the deal?
The Socialist Party believes that the dubious deeds of the Prime Minister, the decision of the Supreme Court, the reports of several newspapers/magazines, the attacking statements of the opposition and the report of the CAG presented in the Parliament yesterday on the contentious issue of the Rafale Aircraft Deal show that India’s economy and politics have been stuck in the grip of fake nationalism. This fake nationalism serves the interests of foreign and domestic weapon companies. The arm deals are made as per the wishes of these very companies. They reveal and hide the information related to the deal as per their interests. Governments work on their terms and government institutions give their reports accordingly. They define India’s national security in their own way and channels and newspapers purchased by them run debates on the line of their perspective. In return, companies give some part of the their loot, made of the hard earnings of the Indian public and country’s resources, to the political parties and politicians.
Certainly there will be more news reports about the Rafale Aircraft Deal in the coming days and a lot of chaff in the grain will be seen. But in the dust of the Lok Sabha elections, which will take place after a few days, all of that will be lost. That is why the Socialist Party urges the people of India that they should contemplate about the truth of the Rafale Deal as per their own wisdom. They should not be swept away with the mainstream media and the statements/counter-statements of parties/politicians playing with emotions in the name of caste, religion, lineage, family, person. They should not see the Rafale Deal as a war between BJP and Congress, but as a war between the Modi Government and the Indian nation. The people of India can only pull Indian nationalism out of the clutches of arms dealers and war-mongering governments.
Dr. Prem Singh, President, Socialist Party