As five Rafale fighter aircraft landed at the Ambala airbase yesterday, the streets of the Haryana city were filled with awestruck spectators welcoming the new jets, and also demonstrating their pride upon seeing the five aircraft. As a matter of fact, a similar public sentiment prevailed all across the country. At a time when India faces a challenge at both the Northern and Western fronts, the induction of Rafale aircraft for the Air Force comes as a gamechanger. India had bought 36 twin-engine Rafale fighter planes from Dassault for an estimated Rs 58,000 crore, through an inter-governmental agreement signed in 2016. 10 aircraft for India have been manufactured till date, with five of them landing in Ambala yesterday. The remaining five are being used in France to train Indian pilots and ground support staff, an exercise which will take nine more months.
The first batch of five aircraft were flown in by Indian Air Force pilots, after covering a 7,000-kilometre journey. They took off from the Merignac airbase near Bordeaux in France. The five aircraft also achieved mid-air refuelling on their way to India. Indian media, meanwhile, had a field day reporting on the arrival of the historic fighter aircraft. The media’s enthusiasm became a stepping stone for BJP baiters and the anti-Modi intelligentsia to attack the aircraft acquisition and the government, many even suggesting that the delivery of Rafale comes at a time when India is battling a pandemic and also an imaginative ‘hunger-crisis’.
Rajdeep Sardesai and his better half – Sagarika were visibly frustrated with all the ‘noise’ around Rafale. Ghosh even took to sharing a meme on Twitter, in which she aimed at portraying Prime Minister Modi as a docile leader having submitted to China. Perhaps the alleged journalist did not watch his address to soldiers on his surprise Ladakh visit.
Good to see the Rafale jets finally in India. We sure need more quality aircraft for our IAF.. but a little less of the band, baaja, baaraat surround sound please.: it’s a fighter plane not a vaccine! #RafaleInIndia
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) July 29, 2020
— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) July 29, 2020
Former journalist Nidhi Razdan likened yesterday’s coverage of the Rafales as Indian media’s ‘OTT’ moment. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, being a person who has no clue about the Rafale’s capabilities and someone who is evidently ignorant about the reality, once again attempted to revive the ‘scam’ bogie. We understand that it is difficult for the Gandhis to comprehend how a defence deal can take place without a scam, however, Rahul will be well advised to not act borderline paranoid in his futile endeavours.
OTT coverage in the Indian media https://t.co/I9ytpwPibC
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) July 29, 2020
Congratulations to IAF for Rafale.
Meanwhile, can GOI answer:
1) Why each aircraft costs ₹1670 Crores instead of ₹526 Crores?
2) Why 36 aircraft were bought instead of 126?
3) Why was bankrupt Anil given a ₹30,000 Crores contract instead of HAL?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 29, 2020
Congress party’s official Twitter handle also tweeted, “We congratulate the Indian Air Force on receiving the Rafale jets. INC govt’s labour in identifying & purchasing Rafale in 2012 have finally borne fruit. The stark difference between the Congress & BJP deal reveal the BJP’s scam:” It added, “The Congress Rafale purchase would have ensured India receives 126 jets instead of BJP’s 36. 108 Rafale jets would have been Made in India. India would have received the Rafale jets by approx 2016 Cost of each Rafale jet would have been Rs. 526 crore.”
The Congress Rafale purchase would have ensured India receives 126 jets instead of BJP's 36.
108 Rafale jets would have been Made in India.
India would have received the Rafale jets by approx 2016
Cost of each Rafale jet would have been Rs. 526 crore.
— Congress (@INCIndia) July 29, 2020
Shekhar Gupta compared everyone excited for the Rafale jets to ‘juveniles’, further saying that India has been successfully turned into a laughing stock globally. Saket Gokhale raised the issue of what in his mind, is a ‘PM Cares fund scam’, much like the ‘Rafale scam’ propounded by his ideological master, Rahul Gandhi.
Fighter planes can make adult enthusiasts act like juveniles. But, while it’s great that the Rafales have arrived, we must be the global laughing stock tracking each take-off, landing, transit stop, refuelling as if it’s Charles Lindbergh making the first trans-Atlantic flight..
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) July 29, 2020
The cost of 5 Rafale jets that arrived today at Modi govt’s severely inflated price is still 8350 crores.
The secret PM CARES Fund has about double that money with zero records or transparency.
Just an example that should tell you how massive the PM CARES scam is.
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) July 29, 2020
Ashok Swain, the prime example of a deranged species thought it fit to inform Indians that the Rafale has been built by ‘beef-consuming’ French workers and engineers. He then suggested that Rafale cannot be a ‘nationalist’, and as a result, protect a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. Prashant Bhushan, who shares similar levels of enhanced neural development as Swain once again alleged large-scale corruption in the whole deal.
Rafale is built by beef-eating French engineers! And, you still expect it to be a nationalist and protect a Hindu Rashtra? https://t.co/QcaSjfyNX5
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) July 29, 2020
As the first Rafale jets land in India 5 yrs after Modi signed the deal with Dassault, with Ambani in tow, it is time to revisit the corruption in the deal & how our security interest and Make In India were compromised. Read our complaint to CBI https://t.co/Cw8eqqs36O
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) July 29, 2020
What was witnessed yesterday was a complete meltdown among India’s left-liberal circles, who floundered around to somehow get hold of grounds to attack the government and India’s overenthusiastic masses for being excited regarding the Rafale touchdown.
Biggest event in aviation since Wright Brothers invented the aeroplane was when Right Brothers in India bought 5 Rafale jets
— Samrat X (@MrSamratX) July 29, 2020
Rafale fighter aircrafts delivery is being hyped up by Tv channels as if India never had fighter aircrafts before. When cutting edge Mirage 2000, Rafale’s precursor, came to India some decades ago even Doordarshan didn’t create such hoopla!All govts routinely buy such equipment.
— M K Venu (@mkvenu1) July 29, 2020
India has in the past bought Jaguars from the UK, Mirage 2000s from France. The current hype over #Rafale is bizarre. The rational explanation is that it is designed to impress Gen X voters who.have no sense of history and are visually awed. Seduction of the innocent.
— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) July 29, 2020
The sentiment among intellectuals on Twitter was in complete contestation of the feeling of pride among Indians across the country. No wonder Twitter celebrities are shocked when the Indian public does not resonate with their opinions post-elections.