Rafale Deal Finally Signed but Fleet Very Small
India and France signed a government-to-government agreement for purchase of two squadrons of the Rafale multi-role fighter aircraft, a massive cut down from the original plan to acquire 126 fighter planes. As a part of the original plan 18 of these fighters were to be handed over by 2015, with the rest being assembled or made locally. Instead, the rapidly rising cost of the aircraft forced the government last year to cancel the deal as unaffordable, and to decide on buying just two squadrons, without any condition for local assembly or manufacture. Nearly after a decade of discussions and setbacks India and France have finally signed the deal.
In this context, Newsclick interviewed defense analyst D. Raghunandan. According to him, this deal doesn’t promote any indigenous development. The force has to depend on other fighters, leading to it managing and maintaining a fleet with planes from multiple manufacturers with low number of flights in each.