Clear the air: on Rafale deal

 

 

 

Clear the air: on Rafale deal

The fog of doubt over the Rafale deal can be lifted only with greater transparency

That troubling(परेशान/चिंतित करना) questions about the purchase(खऱीदना/प्राप्त करना) of 36 Rafale fighter jets will persist(बनी रहेगी/क़ायम रहना) despite(बावजूद ) a clean chit of sorts from the Supreme Court, was demonstrated (साबित) compellingly last week following The Hindu’s detailed investigation (जाँच पड़ताल) into the deal. It showed(पता चला) that in comparison(तुलना) to the bid(बोली) under the UPA there was an overall escalation(वृद्धि) in the price of each jet in the 2016 deal struck by the Modi government, because the price of 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISEs), essentially(अनिवार्य रूप से) upgrades that were sought(मांगना/प्रयास करना) on the bare-bones aircraft, was spread(फैला/विस्तार) over 36 jets as opposed(विरोधी/विपक्षी ) to the original 126. Significantly(गौरतलब है), as The Hindu’s investigation(जांच) revealed(पता चला), three Defence Ministry officials in the seven-member Indian Negotiating(तोल-मोल/बातचीत करना) Team objected to the €1.3 billion assigned to ISEs; it was eventually(आखिरकार ) approved(मंजूर) by a narrow 4-3 majority(बहुमत) on the ground that ISEs are a non-recurring cost. But this raises(उठाना/बढ़ाना). an obvious(स्पष्ट ) and perplexing(हैरान करने वाला) question: since they are a non-recurring cost, why did the government drop, or fail to secure(सुरक्षित), the follow-on provision(प्रावधान/नियम), which would have given India the option to purchase more Rafales, and reduce (कम करना)the per-aircraft price by spreading the design and development costs involved(लिप्त/फंसा हुआ) in the upgrades? After all, the follow-on clause was a part of the deal under negotiation under the UPA government. The import of the question assumes(मान लेना) an altogether different(विभिन्न ) dimension(परिमाण/पहलू) given that the Air Force, with an old and depleting fleet, has required — and for some two decades(दशक) now — far greater numbers of Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) like the Rafale. Last year, the government issued(जारी किया ) a Request for Information for 110 fighters, of which about 15% will be acquired(हासिल किया) in a flyaway condition and the remainder manufactured under the strategic(महत्वपूर्ण/सामरिक) partnership(भागीदारी) route. With the same manufacturers back in the bidding fray(बोली लगाने वाले,), we are in a way back to where we were — in other words, to a place that casts doubts on the vigour(शक्ति/ जोश) of India’s long-term planning when it comes to defence preparedness(रक्षा तैयारी).

Owing(कारण/हेतु से) to a mix of investigation, statements and government leaks, much of the information about the pricing, the acquisition process and the ISEs are already in the public domain(क्षेत्र/विचार-सीमा) It is nobody’s case that information that could impact(प्रभाव) the aircraft’s operational capability(क्षमता ) or jeopardise(खतरे में डालना/जोखिम ) national security should be shared, but the government has been less than willing(तैयार/इच्छुक) to come forward to address the issue of pricing. Instead(बजाय/बदले में) it has been taking cover, unconvincingly, under the secrecy(गोपनीयता /रहस्य) clause(चरण/खण्ड) in the general security agreement(समझौता) signed between India and France in 2008. Given the fog of doubt over a number of issues, it is unclear why it doesn’t adopt a more accommodating(अनुकूल/मिलनसार) posture by arranging(व्यवस्था करना) private briefings for Opposition leaders(विपक्षी नेताओं) and permitting a JPC to examine the deal. Without this, the general presumption(अनुमान) will be that it has something to hide.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1.Persist(बनी रहेगी/क़ायम रहना)
Synonyms: continue, endure, go on, linger, persevere
Antonyms: cease, discontinue, give up, go, halt

2.Bid(बोली)
Synonyms: advance, offer, price, proposal, request
Antonyms: withdrawal, denial, refusal

3. Significantly(गौरतलब है),
Synonyms: automatically, naturally, no doubt, undoubtedly, unquestionably
Antonyms: doubtfully, questionably, unnecessarily

4. Eventually(आखिरकार
Synonyms: finally, one day, someday, sooner or later, ultimately
Antonyms: never

5. spread(फैला/विस्तार)
Synonyms: advance, advancement, dissemination, escalation, increase
Antonyms: halt, stop, abridgment, compression, decrease

6. perplexing(हैरान करने वाला)
Synonyms: baffling, complicated, confusing, convoluted, disconcerting
Antonyms: clear, easy, simple, straightforward, untroublesome

7. Assumes(मान लेना)
Synonyms: accept, conclude, consider, estimate, expect
Antonyms: abstain, disbelieve, discard, disregard, forget

8. acquired(हासिल किया)
Synonyms: , captured, collected, seized, accomplished, attained
Antonyms: deprived, forfeited, lost

9. Vigor(शक्ति/ जोश)
Synonyms: ability, agility, lertness, capability, dynamism
Antonyms: apathy, clumsiness, impotence, inability, incompetence

10. Dimension(परिमाण/पहलू)
Synonyms: aspect, element, extent, height, importance
Antonyms: insignificance, unimportance

11. Strategic(महत्वपूर्ण/सामरिक)
Synonyms: critical, important, key, vital, cardinal
Antonyms: inessential, insignificant, nonessential, trivial, unimportant

12.Instead(बजाय/बदले में)
Synonyms: rather, alternately, alternative, as a substitute, in lieu

13. Arranging(व्यवस्था करना)
Synonyms: file, form, organize, align, array
Antonyms: destroy, disarrange, disorder, disorganize, displace

14.Presumption(अनुमान)
Synonyms: assumption, likelihood, premise, supposition, suspicion
Antonyms: fact, knowledge, reality, calculation, certainty

15. jeopardize(खतरे में डालना/जोखिम )
Synonyms: imperil, threaten, chance, gamble, hazard
Antonyms: guard, protect, save, design, plan

 

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

 

The fog of doubt over the Rafale deal can be lifted only with greater transparency
That troubling questions about the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets will persist despite a clean chit of sorts from the Supreme Court, was demonstrated compellingly last week following The Hindu’s detailed investigation into the deal. It showed that in comparison to the bid under the UPA there was an overall escalation in the price of each jet in the 2016 deal struck by the Modi government, because the price of 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISEs), essentially upgrades that were sought on the bare-bones aircraft, was spread over 36 jets as opposed to the original 126. Significantly, as The Hindu’s investigation revealed, three Defence Ministry officials in the seven-member Indian Negotiating Team objected to the €1.3 billion assigned to ISEs; it was eventually approved by a narrow 4-3 majority on the ground that ISEs are a non-recurring cost. But this raises an obvious and perplexing question: since they are a non-recurring cost, why did the government drop, or fail to secure, the follow-on provision, which would have given India the option to purchase more Rafales, and reduce the per-aircraft price by spreading the design and development costs involved in the upgrades? After all, the follow-on clause was a part of the deal under negotiation under the UPA government. The import of the question assumes an altogether different dimension given that the Air Force, with an old and depleting fleet, has required — and for some two decades now — far greater numbers of Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) like the Rafale. Last year, the government issued a Request for Information for 110 fighters, of which about 15% will be acquired in a flyaway condition and the remainder manufactured under the strategic partnership route. With the same manufacturers back in the bidding fray, we are in a way back to where we were — in other words, to a place that casts doubts on the vigour of India’s long-term planning when it comes to defence preparedness.

Owing to a mix of investigation, statements and government leaks, much of the information about the pricing, the acquisition process and the ISEs are already in the public domain. It is nobody’s case that information that could impact the aircraft’s operational capability or jeopardise national security should be shared, but the government has been less than willing to come forward to address the issue of pricing. Instead it has been taking cover, unconvincingly, under the secrecy clause in the general security agreement signed between India and France in 2008. Given the fog of doubt over a number of issues, it is unclear why it doesn’t adopt a more accommodating posture by arranging private briefings for Opposition leaders and permitting a JPC to examine the deal. Without this, the general presumption will be that it has something to hide.

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