Anil Ambani, owner of Reliance Defense has written a second letter to Rahul Gandhi in which he has stated that “Congress has been misinformed, misdirected and misled by malicious vested interests and corporate rivals” about the Rafale deal. He has also written a letter in December last year to ‘rightly’ inform the Congress that the offset deal is between Reliance and Rafale manufacturer Dassault and there is no question of government interference. In the latest letter, Anil Ambani has said, “Rafale fighter jets are not being manufactured by Reliance or the Dassault Reliance Joint Venture. All 36 planes are to be 100 percent manufactured in France, and exported from France to India.”
The countries which spend a major chunk of their national budget of defense procurements ask for offset contracts to defense manufacturers. The offset obligations of the company could be somewhere between 30 to 100 percent of the deal value depending on the scale of the deal. Anil Ambani in his letter adds, “Our role is limited to offset exports and export obligations. More than 100 medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) will participate in this, along with public sector undertakings like BEL and Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO). This role strengthens Indian manufacturing capabilities, and is in pursuance of the Offsets Policy introduced by the Congress-led UPA Government itself from 2005 onwards.”
Earlier, Reliance Defence Ltd. Chief executive Rajesh Dhingra had spoken to the media regarding the Rafale-Dassault deal and said that “Reliance Defense or any other Reliance group company has not received any contract from the MoD till date, related to 36 Rafale aircraft. This is absolutely unfounded and incorrect.” It is not just the Reliance which rebutted the claims of Rahul Gandhi about the Rafale deal. Almost all the defense procurement experts have hailed the Rafale deal as efficient and transparent. Rahul Gandhi is no expert on defense procurement. He must have consulted some people to allege that Rafale deal was a scam. So, the people are misleading Rahul Gandhi or he is doing it intentionally just to malign the government. He made many major mistakes regarding Rafale, the first thing he said was that no secrecy pact existed between Indian and French government as informed by defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This allegation fell flat as the French government informed the media that there is a secrecy pact within hours after Gandhi’s allegation. Rahul Gandhi has maligned the international standings of the country just to attack the government.
Another point Rahul Gandhi raised was that Modi government’s deal was costlier than the price decided by UPA government. Abhijit Iyer Mitra, a defense expert said that UPA government has not decided any price for the deal so there is no point of cheaper or costlier deal. The defense expert also said that the price agreed upon by the government is as per the market rates and it is lower than the price at which the Arab countries bought equipment with similar features. The allegations of corruption, cronyism, and inflated prices have no substantial evidence. Rahul Gandhi is just trying to gain political capital through an attack on the government. CAG has found that t P-8I (Poseidon Eight India) aircraft for anti-submarine warfare requirements of Indian Navy was purchased by Boeing at much higher prices despite the fact that rival bidder was Spanish aircraft manufacturer EADA CASA was offering a lower bid. Before accusing the government of Rafale, Rahul Gandhi should answer for Boeing case which is proving to be another scam in the series of scams carried out during the UPA era.