Dubious deal

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This has ref­er­ence to the Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) in­ter­nal note dated Novem­ber 24, 2015, that has sur­faced in the me­dia clearly ev­i­denc­ing the fact that the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice (PMO) had con­ducted par­al­lel ne­go­ti­a­tions in the murky Rafale deal, thereby weak­en­ing the ne­go­ti­at­ing po­si­tion of the MoD and the team. The MoD had also ob­jected to this high-hand­ed­ness of the PMO and had alerted the then de­fence min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar, who it ap­pears was help­less in this mat­ter.

By de­rail­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions con­ducted by the MoD, the PMO rep­re­sented by Joint Sec­re­tary to PM Jawed Ashraf and the Na­tional Se­cu­ri­tyAd­viser Ajit Do­val ap­pears to have fa­cil­i­tated the en­try of Anil Am­ban­iled Reliance De­fence as the off­set part­ner in the deal. More­over, it is a won­der why the PMO had di­luted the terms and con­di­tions pro­posed by the MoD and agreed to ac­cept just a let­ter of com­fort to cover proper im­ple­men­ta­tion of the sup­ply pro­to­col by in­dus­trial sup­pli­ers, in­stead of a 100 per cent se­cure sov­er­eign or govern­ment guar­an­tee or a bank guar­an­tee as rightly pro­posed by the MoD in their ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Look­ing at the se­quences of the hap­pen­ing, one re­ally won­ders whether the above di­lu­tion of se­cu­rity was an in­ter­nal barter deal to make the French dealer ac­cept the in­ex­pe­ri­enced and debt-laden Reliance De­fence as an off­set part­ner. With the lat­est rev­e­la­tion, Rahul Gandhi stands vin­di­cated of his al­le­ga­tions against the govern­ment in the Rafale deal and his de­mand for a thor­ough probe by a Joint Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee into the dubious deal sounds rea­son­able.

Thar­cius S Fer­nando Chen­nai

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