oppn parties Rafale Deal: Giving the Air Force a Winning Edge

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  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Rafale Deal: Giving the Air Force a Winning Edge

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
India has acquired the much needed penetrative power for its Air Force by buying the Rafale fighter jets from France. After much haggling over pricing and detailed negotiations to ensure that Indian businesses were not left out, the government has worked out a deal which looks like a win-win situation for the country – at least on paper.

In the business angle, the government has managed to wangle an overall price reduction of 750 million Euros from the price negotiated by the previous UPA government. When one considers that delays always cause price escalation, this is no mean feat, especially since the deal has not been watered down regarding the content of the jets. Further, price escalations have been capped at 3.5 percent a year as per European Price Indices, as the last of the jets will be delivered in 66 months. Then, the 50 percent offset clause has been inserted. This will mean a bonanza for small and medium Indian businesses, which will compulsorily fabricate materials and supply as per Rafale design for routine maintenance of the jets. This will translate into a business of three billion Euros over a long term period.

On the fighting capacity and technology front, the Rafale jets will add superior penetration, where the Pakistanis had stolen a march over India after the Kargil war. While India just had a Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capacity of 50 km, which it used in the Kargil war, Pakistan had subsequently acquired the 80 km range, giving them an edge. But with Rafale, India gets the air-to-air ‘Meteor’ missiles which have a BVR of 150 km. The Pakistanis know what this means.

The Rafales also come with ‘Scalp” air-to-ground missiles which have a BVR of 300 km. That means India can target deep into Pakistani territory on the western flank and some targets in China will also come within reach from the northeast. With this acquisition, Indian Air Force has nosed ahead of Pakistan and restored a sense of parity with China. This is a good, clean and transparent deal signed just in time. Any further delay would have cost the Air Force dearly in terms of relative advantage and battle preparedness.