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Rafale deal is unravelling faster than government expected, says P Chidambaram

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The Rafale deal is unravelling faster than the BJP expected. If the government and the ruling party thought that they could keep the lid on the most opaque defence purchase in recent times, they were wrong, and they were rudely dragged out of their comfort zone. The credit goes, largely, to The Hindu and Mr N Ram, chairman of The Hindu Group’s publishing company. However, there were — and are — other important players who deserve to be complimented for standing up to the enormous pressure of the government and its leaders.

New and Flawed Deal

First, the facts that have tumbled out of the closet.

1. It is now confirmed that the Rafale deal was a one-man show of Prime Minister Modi. Mr Modi was the choreographer, it was carefully orchestrated, and all important decisions were taken by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

2. The decision to scrap the UPA-era memorandum of understanding (MoU) was not taken first for cogent reasons. The decision to enter into a new deal was taken first and, since the earlier MoU was standing in the way, the MoU was scrapped.

3. Key players were kept out of the loop: the defence minister, the external affairs minister, the finance minister, the Air Force, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) and the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

4. On April 8, 2015, in Paris, the foreign secretary told the media that the Rafale negotiations were at an........

© The Financial Express