The Rafale deal was cleared by the previous UPA government, but had got stuck when Dassault refused to certify the aircraft that were to be manufactured by HAL in India. The Modi government tweaked the deal, reducing it from 126 to 36 planes in fly-away condition, without the transfer of technology the earlier deal had envisaged.However, French officials said the Rafale deal incorporates 50% offsets, the highest — this includes 30% for military aerospace R&D and 20% for manufacturing components of the Rafale aircraft in India.
“This will contribute positively to the entire Indian defence industry, not just one company,” they said. The Congress party has alleged that the reworked deal would benefit only Reliance.
The offsets, they said, were being developed not only by Dassault, but by all four French companies involved — they would benefit some 500 companies who would be involved in this process.
“There are rumours, some allegations being floated, but we urge you to look at the facts,” they said. At this point, they said, France was concentrating on “fulfilling our contractual obligations and deliver in due time, the best possible aircraft.”
Responding to reports that India may up the demand for fighter jets, they said France would be “happy” to consider it, but emphasised that Make in India would be a key component. “But that is not up to us,” they said.
Congress trying to divert attention from Agusta chopper scam, says BJP
The BJP rejected Congress’s allegation that the government was buying 36 Rafale fighters from France at a much higher rate and said the rival was making such claims to “divert attention” as party bigwigs faced the prospect of being questioned in theAgustaWestland chopper scam.
BJP spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao pointed to the arrest of middleman Carlos Gerosa in Italy and his likely extradition to India and said “the Congress has made baseless allegations over Rafale deal to divert public attention and to cry political vendetta”.
“None of these stunts will work and the Congress must be ready to answer who took bribes in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal as the money trail is going to become known after the extradition of Carlos Gerosa,” he was quoted as saying by agencies.
“Modi government is known for integrity and all its actions are above board, while the Congress party is synonymous with sleaze, corruption and crony capitalism,” Rao added.