French fries in politics

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/25/2018 12:56:55 PM IST

 Former French president Francois Hollande dropped a bombshell that blew the defensive fortress of the Modi government which was on denial mode that it had no hand in the choice of Indian offset partner- Reliance Defence- in the multibillion dollar Rafale jetfighter deal worth Rs.58,000 crore. The Rafale deal has pitched Rahul Gandhi against Narendra Modi as Hollande’s bombshell resonated across the globe. The interview with Francois Hollande by a French journalist Antton Rouget launched the torpedo that struck the fortress of the Modi government. This interview has given the Congress the biggest shot-in-the-arm. In the interview Hollande told Antton Rouget, that it was the Indian government who proposed the name of Reliance Defence to the French authorities. François Hollande, who was the president of France at the time of the signing of the Rafale contract between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence clearly told the journalist that it was the Indian government which had proposed (the name of) Reliance Defence to French authorities. Congress President Rahul Gandhi in his allegations also kicked up a storm. He said that the (parent) company of Reliance Defence had a “debt of Rs 35,000 crore” benefited Rs 45,000 crore by the Rafale deal signed by Modi Government. The Modi government had strongly refuted the charge made by Congress and also refused to clarify on the justification for the sky rocketing of the price of a Rafale jetfighter from Rs. 580 crore each to Rs.1600 each. The UPA government had agreed to purchase 126 Rafale jets at the price of Rs.1600 crore while Modi agreed to purchase only 36 Rafale jets for Rs.1600 crore each. That figure of Rs.1600 crore for 36 Rafale jets as against Rs.580 crore for 126 Rafale jets did not seem to make any sense and rightly created alarm, leading to strong suspicions of some wheeling-dealing going on. The Paris trip in April 2015 where the Rafale pact was first discussed, Anil Ambani was present during the prime minister’s visit to Moscow in December of the same year, batting for major contracts with Russia for his newly formed defence companies. The response of the Russians was totally different when it decided to choose Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the PSU to jointly manufacture Sukhoi aircraft. Ambani’s firm had no experience in defence manufacturing and worse, it was hardly a few weeks old when it was chosen by Dassault. The Congress had raised even in Parliament, but the Modi government refused to divulge details to explain why the price had soared so high. The government’s obstinate insistence that it had nothing to do with the decision by Dassault to choose Reliance Defence and a determined refusal to even constitute a Parliamentary panel to study the deal was rejected outright on the plea of a confidential clause in the agreement. The government went to the extent of imputing anti-nationalism against those daring to openly ask questions when government ministers maintained that asking such questions tantamount to attempt to compromise India’s national security. The Rafale deal is no longer a confidential matter and it is ridiculous to suggest that justifying the cost would compromise national security. If the Modi government has nothing to hide, then it should agree to a parliamentary panel or a Supreme Court monitored committee to go into the details to decide once and for all the facts of the matter.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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