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Rafale deal judgment was based on half-truths presented by government

17 0 2

From the eye-popping report published in The Hindu, it is now clear that the PMO was, in fact, in “parallel negotiations” with the French government over the Rafale deal, and that Defence Ministry officials had raised strong objections to this, saying that it had “weakened the position of the MoD and the Indian Negotiating Team seriously”. This note from the defence secretary was dated November 24, 2015.

Subsequently, the Government, via a news agency, has put out the fuller version of the note which indicates that the then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, said this was an “overreaction” by MoD, and “it appears that PMO and French president’s office are monitoring the progress of the issues, which was an outcome of the summit meeting…” This reaction of the Defence Minister came after more than a month of the November 24, 2015 note, and was written on January 11, 2016, after 43 days.

It is pertinent to observe here that the then Defence Minister Parrikar had neither falsified, nor contested the content of the defence ministry official’s note, but instead had suggested that the matter should be resolved “in consultation with the Pr Sec to PM.”

However, the words of the defence ministry officials now seem prophetic in hindsight and perhaps explain why the deal, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself in France on April 10, 2015, was eventually struck at the escalated price of 7.87 billion euro for 36 Rafale jets and that too without a sovereign guarantee, which was being insisted upon by the defence ministry officials as well as the........

© Free Press Journal