In his quest, and subsequent failure, to find an issue to ‘corner’ the BJP Government, Rahul Gandhi turned to lies, deceit, half-truth, blatant propaganda and fake news on make-believe ‘Rafale scam’. Rahul Gandhi’s, and his cronies in media, allegations of favoritism and partiality to a private company while disregarding the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in the Rafale deal, have been debunked thoroughly by Indian Air Force and the Honorable Supreme Court of India. Despite his failures, Rahul Gandhi kept trying to politicize the HAL even meeting the employees of the PSU and trying to turn them against the government’s decision. On HAL, Rahul Gandhi often wonders, loudly, why the PSU was not chosen for the offset deal with Dassault, completely oblivious of the capabilities and strength of the PSU which has been undermined by the socialist policies and misgovernance of his party’s rule.
Under the offset rules, Dassault was free to choose its partner which has been clarified time and again by both the Government of India and the French company. They didn’t choose HAL as their offset partner because of the poor health of the PSU which is certainly a result of the misgovernance of the Congress party.
In contradiction to Congress’s new found love for HAL, on Mar 03, 2012, their own MoS defence Mr Pallam Raju accepted on record that HAL was not able to meet the expectations of Indian Air Force.
Furthermore, in October 2013, UPA Government told the Delhi High Court that HAL’s poor workmanship was to blame for MiG-21 accidents. They even blamed HAL for a spinal injury to an air force pilot.
The shocking aspect is that all through this, the Congress party knew all about the ailing condition of HAL.
- In 2011, the then American ambassador to India Timothy Roemer in his report to Obama Government, said in clear terms that the HAL was not competent to be a partner of either of the two American companies – Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
- In July 2013, Boeing ended contract with HAL over ‘poor quality’ of production
- After studying HAL’s Nashik facility, Dassault’s conclusion was that the company “could not risk its global reputation” by partnering with the PSU.
- In 2013, miffed with HAL over missed deadlines, and failure to deliver cutting-edge R&D, Indian Air Force pretty much kept the PSU out of the 150 billion defence deals planned for the next 15 years.
While this shows the ‘illustrious’ history of HAL, the current projects undertaken by the PSU are not exactly going well either:
- The Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) project of HAL is behind schedule by over 14 years.
- The HTT 40 trainer project is delayed by over six years.
- The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) programme that was sanctioned in 2006 to achieve Operational Clearance by December 2010 is delayed by more than seven years.
- HAL’s most ambitious project, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, also crumbled during the UPA rule. So far only nine LCAs have been delivered. four in 2016-17 and five in 2017-18. Thus, even 11 years after placing the initial order in May 2006, HAL is yet to demonstrate the authorized production rate of 8 aircraft per year.
- According to an audit by Ministry of Defense (MoD), Sukhoi aircrafts produced by Bengluru based HAL cost 150 crore, more than those manufactured by the parent producer. “A Su-30MKI made in Russia cost Rs 269.77 crore whereas one made by HAL in India costs Rs 417.69 crore, almost “Rs 150 crore” more per aircraft,” the review said.
On top of all this, The Congress government gave contracts worth only Rs 10000 crore as opposed to the NDA government that has been giving contracts of Rs 22000 crore a year.
So, clearly, the Congress led UPA government under Sonia and Rahul Gandhi did nothing to improve the prospects of HAL. It would not be unreasonable to say that they almost destroyed it. And now they have the audacity to question why the offset contract for the Rafale deal went to a private partner.
HAL is among the monuments of the Nehruvian economy and a testament to its abject failure. Will Mr Rahul Gandhi ask Sonia Ji, Dr Manmohan Singh and Mr AK Antony what did they do to improve HAL’s condition during Congress rule?