Monday, August 11, 2014

Rafel deal needs to be renegotiated

Ever since the 1980s, Indian politicians have been haunted by the ghost of Bofors.An allegation of Rs 64 crore kickbacks in the Swedish field guns purchase had spelt doom for Rajiv Gandhi. Now it is
turn of Rafale deal,which is tainted by Soniya led defence minister Antony's deal in finalising but left NDA govt to complete. Although India needs Aircraft ASAP, but wrong decisions will not only grapple IAF but also Modi govt.So best idea is to restart tender and deals with fresh eyes.
IAF’s  squadron strength is down from the sanctioned 44 squadrons to about 34 squadrons at present—that led it to look for new aircraft to replace its aging combat fleet. Initially, it was thought that the Mirage 2000-5 aircraft (it had impressed during the 1999 Kargil campaign) should be upgraded. But later that idea was junked and the search began for a newer, better combat jet. Since the Indian economy was booming, the political bosses had told the IAF top brass to “go for the best and not to worry about the cost”. Accordingly, it was decided that the IAF needed 126 MMRCA and tenders were sought through a ‘multi-vendor’ process. Six leading international companies were identified.The process started around 2001 but it was only in ’07 that the six aircraft were put to an evaluation test, involving various exercises and tests, including flying under varying temperatures, in the Rajasthan desert as well as in the icy heights of Leh. “This was one of IAF’s biggest test evaluations, and that too simultaneously for six different aircraft,” says former air vice-chief (retd) Air Marshall Pranab K. Barb­ora. “Our boys did a commendable job and the testing procedure was above board. It received praise from all the participants,” says Barbora. According to him, after completing this lengthy process of evaluation, the experts agreed to shortlist Rafale as No. 1 and Eurofighter as No. 2. But though this part got over in 2012 and the government officially announced Rafael to be the “lead bidder”, final negotiations were still some way off.
Rafale is good, juct needs to renegotiate price.