FALLING FLAT OF THE CONG CARDS OF CANARDS

   By Power Corridors ,  17-Jun-2019
FALLING FLAT OF THE CONG CARDS OF CANARDS

This has never been witnessed in the practical history of Indian polity when a party president rode on the waves of the constant lies against a prime minister of India

It was just last week, probably the date was May 17 2019. It was not less than a big embarrassment to Congress president Rahul Gandhi when Oxford Dictionaries clarified that the word “Modilie”, introduced by Rahul to describe Prime Minister Narendra Modi, doesn’t exist in its dictionaries.

That was an epitome of verbal cross-border firing from Rahul. There is a list of his innumerable canards which were less lies than self-insults.

Finding a dead horse to flog is too unwise to realize. The same was done by the Cong Prez in the run up to 2019 general assembly polls. The party keeping Rahul as its biggest spokesperson knitted a so called scam where there was zero existence of any such thing but they went on and on hurling the beaky-bombs on Modi and his party with their invention.

Though the concocted scam fell flat in the paramount India court still they did not stop there which was their helplessness on the other side as well.

The Rafale deal was suggested to Mr Rahul Gandhi with no prior homework ready. Probably he was so exblockquoted about it that he made it his pet issue in these elections. He kept on repeating lies after lies, going with canards after canards helped by his pals in the media who also never questioned him about his assertions.

What to say about the Rafale lies that Rahul Gandhi rode on spreading in the run-up to elections. It’s a long tail to tale in totality.

To begin with, his lie number one was Reliance Industries of Anil Ambani has been given the contract to build the Rafale fighter Jets.

For them who are unaware, the 36 Rafale Fighter jets are being completely made in France by Dassault, and the manufacturing follows the regulation of the deal. The regulations also clarify - No aircraft will be made in India under this deal. Hence, there is no question of any Indian company making the Rafale jets in India, be it Reliance or any other Indian firm. Therefore, the first canard falls flat.

Now come to the lie number two. Rahul yells Modi has stolen Rs 30,000 Crore from HAL and gifted it to Reliance Industries of Anil Ambani.

If the Reliance company gets offset business how would that mean they get money from the Rafale deal? If both of the companies – Relliance and Dassault coming together start a joint venture – it is their prerogative. They do not need any permission from any one.  They did set up a joint venture company, -Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited which witnessed an investment of Rs 400 Crore each from both the companies. And here at this juncture Rs 1000 Crore is the amount which is expected to get by DRAL through the offset business, not the amount claimed by Mr Gandhi which as per his estimation was of Rs 30,000 Crore.

Coming to the third canard. Rahul claims that the offset deal was snatched from HAL and given to Reliance.

In the first place, HAL is not involved in any offset business; the company’s field belongs to license production of aircraft. As far as the current deal is concerned, it has no provision allowing the manufacturing of the Rafale fighters in India. Browsing the past of the company’s history there is no such evidence found which could show its involvement in any offset business. As far as their professional involvement is concerned they have been manufacturing aircraft for India, viz. jets like MiG21 and Sukhoi Su-30MKI. Other than this, the company is pre-occupied with aircraft maintenance along with the Jet upgradation and overhauling. Hence, any such thought of stealing any sort of offset business from HAL is sheer folly.

Talk about HAL, the company was expected to manufacture a total number of 108 Rafale jets as per the original deal which took place during the UPA government days. Unfortunately that deal could not reach to its final point for the difference between HAL and Dassault existed as the hardcore obstacle there. 

HAL was right with his demand of 2.7 times more man hours to manufacture the jets, which would have brought an increase in the price then.

In the Rafale’s CAG report it was clearly mentioned that in case of an increase of 2.7 times manpower, the Rafale would no longer remain the lowest bidder, and thus the deal will no more be valid.

Now let’s move to the lie number four. It was said that Reliance has no experience in making planes, still, they are given offset deal to make Rafale.

As stated above, Reliance is not making the Rafale. Going through the clauses belonging to the offset regulations, the offset business is not always required to be belonging to the item of the deal. Not only this, the foreign vendor too have been authorised to invest in or buy any product or service from a list which is mentioned in the DPP.

DRAL, which is the abbreviation of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited, in the current deal shall achieve a small portion of the offset business. And this is what is the  ongoing joint venture between Dassault and Reliance. Dassault’ s being one of the Joint Venture Partner, implies that DRAL can tap into the vast experience of the Dassault in aircraft manufacturing. Here it is worth mentioning that DRAL is already involved in manufacturing parts for Falcon civilian jet and this work basically belong to the Dassault.

The lie number five is also not less significant in which they said the Dassault was forced to select Reliance as their offset partner.

They should know that the Indian Company, Reliance is not at all an offset partner in the Rafale deal. As mentioned earlier both the companies are related to each other with the bonds of a Joint Venture called Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd in which is, a 49:51 JV of Dassault and Reliance. In accordance with the offset regulations of India’s Defence Purchase Policy, the foreign vendors are allowed to select the offset partner. Even this was clarified by the governments of India and France and also the company, Dassault made it very clear that they were not being compelled to choose some particular company as their offset partner.

In fact, approximately 100 offset partners were chosen by the Dassault. This list was included many PSU units and Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited was also one of those units.

Now we come to the lie number six. This also clearly reflects their intention. This lie says - Modi government is paying more for the Rafale aircraft compared to previous deal by UPA government. 

This lie is seen badly thrashed by the CAG report on the Rafale deal. We see two components belonging to the previous deal, one says - 18 jets are to be made by Rafale, and the second says – rest of the 108 jets will be made by HAL. Now when we see the cost of the jets who were to be made in India, their cost was never finalised since HAL was not happy with the given man hours. It needed much more than that. Therefore it is a silly lie to claim that the UPA deal was cheaper. The blamers need to go through the CAG report once again where it is well clear that Rafale deal hailing the year 2016 during the Modi governance is 2.86% cheaper than the deal of the year 2007 in the UPA regime.

We now reach to Lie Number seven which tells that Reliance has won a “lifecycle contract” worth $16 billion apart from the offset deal.

Other than uttering repeatedly the rupees  30,000 Crore lie, Rahul Gandhi did not like to stop there. He said that a Rafale “lifecycle” contract of $16 billion was also gifted to Reliance. Thus it comes to around $20 billion being the total benefit for the company. And now here is the fact. Anything like “lifecycle contract” does not exist in the Rafale deal. Rahul Gandhi used this flight of fancy just to tarnish the image of the government but his  fertile imagination fell flat along with other lies.

The next is Lie number eight. They said, the company named Reliance Defence is a newly made firm which was set up only 12 days prior to the finalising day of the Rafale deal. Thus this company cannot claim to have any experience of the defence field.

Prior to Reliance Defence, there was a company named Pipavav Shipyard which was around 19 years old in the year 2016. This company with its origin in the year 1997, has turned into Reliance Defence now. For the first time Indian Navy allowed a private Indian company to build warship for it.

Reliance acquired this company in the year 2015. Apart from building warships for Navy, the company was also given contracts of maintenance for and by  the United States Navy and this contract for the Navy’s seventh fleet was worth Rupees fiteen thousand crores.

Now here is the lie number nine. This fabricated blame said that Dassault was undergoing an acute financial problem. That was what made them accept Reliance as their offset partner for sake of earning the Rafale deal.

The fact against the above mentioned fiction is that the Dassault is one of the perfect profit making companies of France with a net income of $708.95 million in the year 2017. More importantly the same company did not bother to get the deal for 126, though the company had already won the bid. Now the reason behind this pragmatic reluctance was the conditions from the other side which did sound too good to them. The HAL’s terms and conditions were not at par with the expectations of the Dassault. Thus the logic of accepting Reliance as their offset just because they wanted to grab the deal, does not sound logical.

Here is the lie number ten. French media had leaked some of the official documents of Dassault and the same documents were proof that the company was compelled to choose Reliance as offset partner.

The concrete ground of reality confirms that there were no such official documents which were leaked by French media. Yes, of course there were an instance of some of the documents published by a French portal, but these documents did not belong to Dassault company. Still they had gotten some such documents published which were earlier published by trade union of Dassault. These documents were about the Rafale deal and were already in the public domain.

The top management of Dassault Aviation held a meeting with the labour unions of the company. Since Dassault Aviation was compelled to move some of its production to India in order to comply with the offset clause of Rafale deal. This is what was mentioned by the management to the labour unions. The management talked about being forced to do offset business – and the same was misinterpreted as being forced to do business with Reliance.

Now the number eleven lie which says, there is no such thing called secrecy clause in the Dassault deal, henceforth, all details can be made public.

Let us recall the words of Rahul Gandhi who   had claimed that French President Macron was the one who had told him that there is no such secrecy pact in the Rafale deal. And any part or the entire deal can be brought into public domain.

But when it was tried to get confirmed with the French government, they right away denied it. They also made it clear that the secrecy pact was signed in the year 2008. That time during the UPA era Mr AK Antony was the defence minister. And it can get confirmed with him too. The signature of the deal did bind India and France legally to keep the classified information private. Not only this,  as per the French statement, these provisions also apply to the deal of 36 Rafale aircrafts along with their weapons.

Now lie number twelve for you – Mr Narendra Modi took the decision to buy 36 Rafale jets without consulting the Indian Air Force.

It was Indian Air Force who being the part of the process, selected Rafale. There were six contenders in the MMRCA bid and Rafle was one of them. As it has already been mentioned, due to disagreements between Dassault and HAL, this deal was cancelled, since there were over the terms of 108 aircrafts to be made in India.

There was an urgent need of fighter plans, and this forced the government to go for purchasing two squadrons directly rather than buying the original one. During the entire negotiations for the purchase of these 36 jets, Indian Air Force remained witnessing at all stages there as a part of the process.

Thirteen is any way an un-auspicious number for the westerners in India. Lie number thirteen also exposes Mr Rahul Gandhi and his company - A ‘management meet note’ of ICICI bank displays that Reliance is being rewarded  Rs 1,05,000 Crore out of the deal against which the Indian company, Reliance will provide performance based logistics for the next fifty years.

The ICICI Bank note being referred here basically estimates the ‘Potential Market Size’ for the Rafale offset obligations to be Rupees 22,000 crore, and total offset obligation in the deal as Rupees 29,500 crore.

Potential market size is well-known as the total size of a market which is open  for all the players. Here it does not at all imply that a single company has prerogative to get all the business in such a market. Apart from this there is no such detail of Rupees 1,05,000 Crore and 50 year deal in this note. The lie number fourteen is unbelievable. Late gentleman minister Manohar Parrikar had told Mr Rahul Gandhi that he was against the Rafale deal.

Probably this was all pre-designed and executed accordingly. During the critical illness of Manohar Parrikar, who was then the Chief Minister of Goa, Mr Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president had visited him. After Mr Rahul Gandhi came out of the meeting, Rahul he had claimed that Parrikar had told him that Mr Parrikar had “nothing to do with the new Rafale deal which was orchestrated by Mr Narendra Modi in order to benefit Mr Anil Ambani”.

It was painful for Mr Parrikar when he was told these lies. Rahul did not stop and kept saying this repeatedly. The then defence minister did not like it and he refuted the claims of Rahul Gandhi in a letter with strong words. Probably it was Mr Parikkar’s last letter of his life.

Lies are lies, no matter what. Have a look over the lie number fifteen. PMO was indulged in a ‘parallel negotiations’ on the Rafale deal and  the then Defence ministry did not like it and objected the interference.

Hindu news paper had published a defence ministry note. Through the note it was made look like that the then defence ministry did not like the Prime Minister Office to keep track of the deal. And one of the officer belonging to the ministry objected to it.

The newspaper had deleted a significant part of the note. Not only this defence minister Manohar Parikkar’s comment was also not published with that, who had made it clear by saying – ‘‘The PMO and French President office are monitoring the progress of the issue which was an outcome of the summit meeting. Para 5 appears to be an over reaction,”. Mr Parikkar had referred to what the defence ministry official commented while he himself was not a part of the Rafale negotiation committee.

Rahul Gandhi and his associates made a big hue and cry against the Rafale deal. They kept making allegations that PMO was interfering in the Rafale deal. What they meant to signify was that Defence ministry is a sovereign independent entity. Here they need to be aware of the fact that defence minister reports the prime minister of/about/during a deal. Not only this, during such a process the prime minister has the right to oversee the entire process involving all the departments.

Most importantly this deal is a G to G deal i.e. Government to Government deal which required the signature of the Indian PM and French Government’s official representative along with their constant monitoring throughout the process of the deal.

Mr Rahul Gandhi also kept blaming it on the Modi Government that significant clauses like Sovereign Guarantee and Anti-Corruption clauses were withdraw in this deal. Thus this is a straight violation of DPP (Defence Procurement Procedure). They should be aware of the facts before embarking upon such a false campaign. They did need to know that the providing such relaxation by the DPP is a part of the process in any G-to-G deal. And this is where such a waver gets authorised. This is not something transpiring for the first time, it has been happening in the previous congress governments also which can be confirmed with the then officials of the then governments.  Though lies do not have eyes but they make you pay the price tomorrow if not today. `

(NANDAN JHA)