If you had a chance to catch a glance of events finding prominent space in your daily’s headlines, you would have come across a section all about a certain Rafale deal. The deal has been a centre of attraction of all the political debates triggered between the Congress and BJP ever since the deal was signed between Asian country and France in 2016. For the nth time, the issue has witnessed unblotted twists and turns. Here is a timeline of all Rafale deal centered events by far:
September 23 2016: India and France shook hands on an inter-governmental deal that highlighted India’s demands for the supply of thirty six Rafale aircrafts, long run maintenance support, initial consignments of weapons, simulators with annual maintenance and associated instrumentation at the cost of Rs 58,000 crore.
February 5 2017
The Indian Air Force denied disclosing any details about the Rafale jets in an RTI reply, supporting with the fact of the information being confidential in nature.
November 14, 2017
The Congress are not pleased with the deal and hold the government guilty of compromising national protection. They release a statement stating after the Rafale deal is signed, on October 3, Anil Ambani, the owner of Reliance Defence Limited, shook hands with French corporation for a joint undertaking for defence production in India. Pointing out the insides of the deal reveal a track of Rs 30,000 crore. The deal is well worth Rs 60,000 crore.
November 15, 2017
France reiterates that the deal is inside the first-class interest of India. French assets additionally stated that the jet was decided on for its top notch overall performance and aggressive fee.
November 16, 2017
Rahul Gandhi is certainly livid with “Self Reliance’s” involvement and makes his anger felt with a tweet.
November 17, 2017
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that such allegations were shameful and such bickering was a disservice to the armed forces.
November 18, 2017
Rahul Gandhi hits back at the Defence Minister Nirmala stating it loud and clear that it was shameful that her boss was silencing her. He makes it vividly clear that he wants the minister to respond with the final price of each jet.
November 25, 2017
The issue hits the headlines once again as the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi questions the credibility of the industrialist asking if he had ever manufactured planes. Manish Tewari, Congress Spokesperson, asks the government to reveal the details of the re-negotiated deal for the people to decide if the deal negotiated now is better that the one done during the UPA rule.
December 18, 2017
The current BJP government said that there is no point in comparison as the deliverables were different. The Reliance Group also made it clear that the joint venture had nothing to do with the government and was just an agreement between two companies.
February 10, 2018
At a Karnataka election rally, Rahul Gandhi alleged it was the biggest issue of corruption in the country, further questioning why the Prime Minister took the contract from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The 2016 annual record of French manufacturer Dassault Aviation showed the rate of forty eight aircrafts for both Egypt and Qatar 7.Nine billion Euros, while the value of 36 plane for India were mentioned as Euro 7.5 billion.
March 12, 2018
The government revealed facts about the clearance of Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
Senior Congress leaders accused the government of supressing facts, calling out the government of being “guilty” of national security in the Rafale fighter jet deal. The former defence minister accused the current Defence Minister of trying to blemishing the image of public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) both nationally and internationally. ” The Congress party demands that the Modi government publish the price of the Congress-UPA’s deal of 126 aircrafts and the price of its 36 Rafale deals, including per aircraft price of the same to clear the doubts of the people of India, let the Nation decide who is correct. Since, there is a growing perception that the Modi government’s Rafale purchase deal has more skeletons in its closet, let there be Joint Parliamentary Probe (JPC) to bring the truth out in the open,” he told reporters.
The Congress has for sure decided to not let go of this issue easily. Trying out the strategy to corner the government, The Congress has decided to start a nationwide campaign in order to “force” the government to answer allegations raised in the historic yet controversial Rafale deal. Stating it as a period to wake up the government, the Congress will be holding as many as 100 press conferences across the country.
The Congress party aims at reaching out to the common person, with the hope of getting support from 1.3 billion across the country. Organising protests is an option under validation in all headquarters of the states on the issue. Including former ministers and spokespersons, the party has backed 50 leaders, repeatedly attacking the central government on the Rafale deal on several occasions. Rahul Gandhi made sure no stone was unturned as he described his meeting with the French President discussing the hiding nature of the deal, during the No-Confidence Motion in the Lok Sabha last month. France has played it cool, stating that there was a 2008 security agreement between the two countries, which legally binds the two nations to protect classified information.
Amidst all the confusion of whether the central government is actually guilty of a national fraud or is it just another shot in the dark by the Congress, in the desperation to get back in the race of running the nation. It will be great fun to see what comes next in this meerkat fight.