Fi­nally, Rafale deal to be ‘signed’

SP's MAI - - EDITOR’S DESK FROM THE -

The medium multi-role com­bat air­craft (MMRCA) deal for 126 fight­ers was to be ‘Mother of all Deals’ but it was not to be. Con­sid­er­ing the com­pli­cated and pro­tracted na­ture of the MMRCA pro­gramme, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi sur­prised all dur­ing his visit to France in 2015. Set­ting aside the 126 air­craft deal, Modi an­nounced that In­dia would buy 36 Rafale fighter air­craft. Af­ter one year and a se­ries of ne­go­ti­a­tions, the pur­chase of 36 Rafale ap­pears to have reached the ‘fi­nal stage’.

The De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar had said ear­lier dur­ing the year that In­dia will se­lect one or two fighter air­craft which will be man­u­fac­tured lo­cally un­der the ‘Make in In­dia’ ini­tia­tive. Analysing the Boe­ing F/A-18 E/F Su­per Hor­net against the F-16IN Fight­ing Fal­con from Lock­heed Martin, Air Mar­shal B.K. Pandey (Retd) writes that the re­quire­ment of the IAF is not for a light­weight fighter but for a medium to heavy­weight com­bat air­craft ca­pa­ble of op­er­at­ing over long range with­out in-flight re­fu­elling, prefer­ably pow­ered by two en­gines with a high pay­load car­ry­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

In an­other sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment, In­dia and the US have agreed in prin­ci­ple to sign the much dis­cussed and ne­go­ti­ated Lo­gis­tics Sup­port Agree­ment (LSA), al­beit with a dif­fer­ent name called Lo­gis­tics Ex­change Mem­o­ran­dum of Agree­ment (LEMOA). The fast chang­ing geopol­i­tics of the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion is en­cour­ag­ing the two coun­tries to come closer and jointly safe­guard their strate­gic in­ter­ests in the face of in­creas­ing ag­gres­sive­ness from the Chi­nese in the South China Sea.

At the ninth edi­tion of De­f­expo in Goa which at­tracted global and lo­cal ex­hibitors, De­fence Min­is­ter Par­rikar an­nounced the re­lease of De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure 2016 (DPP) which fo­cuses on re­duc­ing de­lays in pro­cure­ments by elim­i­nat­ing repet­i­tive pro­ce­dures; new clauses al­low­ing pro­cure­ments in through sin­gle ven­dor with proper jus­ti­fi­ca­tion; govern­ment readi­ness to pay 10 per cent ex­tra for prod­ucts bet­ter than oth­ers; new cat­e­gory of ‘In­dige­nously De­signed De­vel­oped and Man­u­fac­tured’ (IDDM) as the most pre­ferred cat­e­gory for pro­cure­ments, etc. We have an anal­y­sis of the DPP by Lt Gen­eral P.C. Ka­toch (Retd). De­f­expo 2016: A few points, our Govern­ment may like to con­sider Our well es­tab­lished De­f­expo (Land & Naval Sys­tems Ex­hi­bi­tion) be­gan in 1999 and has been con­tin­u­ing in Delhi as the venue since then. For the first time the show was re­lo­cated in Goa for its 2016 edi­tion.

We should be able to take note that the es­tab­lished de­fence and aero­space shows, listed be­low, have never been re­lo­cated (for ages): Paris Air Show Farn­bor­ough In­ter­na­tional Air­show Eurosatory (Paris) DSEI (Lon­don) Dubai Air­show. As none of such es­tab­lished shows was ever re­lo­cated, all th­ese shows have been grow­ing from strength to strength and steadily.

Also the cost to ferry the ser­vice of­fi­cials and se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cials all the way from Delhi to Goa is a con­sid­er­able cost which can well be avoided as Delhi ver­sions would never need such ad­di­tional costs for ob­vi­ous rea­sons.

De­f­expo, be­ing a govern­ment prop­erty, we be­lieve needs to be han­dled with a lit­tle care. Up­root­ing it from its lo­ca­tion of ori­gin and re­lo­cat­ing to a place which is oth­er­wise per­fectly suitable as tourism des­ti­na­tion might ham­per the real strength and ac­cept­abil­ity of the show. We love De­f­expo (a busi­ness show for de­fence fra­ter­nity) and all of us want the show to grow ef­fec­tively and sur­pass global stan­dards. We in­deed wish the very best to the fu­ture edi­tions of De­f­expo.

All this and more in this edi­tion of SP’s M.A.I. which gives quick anal­y­sis of news in the fort­night gone by.

Happy read­ing!

Jayant Baran­wal Pub­lisher & Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

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