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

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  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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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.