Skip to main content

Modi's Rafale deal in France "reminds" one of how tinpot dictators would carry fat chequebooks during trips abroad

By Our Representative
One of the top-most Indian diplomats, who has worked as ambassador in several countries, has taken strong exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Rafale deal in France, saying, this reminds one of how the French would get around “authoritarian rulers” and “tin-pot dictators” – like Muammar Gaddafi – who would carry fat chequebooks in their pockets while travelling abroad.
Calling the deal a “disgrace”, in an analysis in Delhi-based journal, “Mainstream” (Mol LIII, No 17), MK Bhadrakumar says, one need not go far to knows why the French leadership went the “whole hog to make Modi’s visit memorable.” A career diplomat, Bhadrakumar has served in former Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.
“The entire leadership—President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the charming Mayor of Paris herself—kept aside their weekend to escort Modi on a Seine cruise”, the diplomat recalls, adding, “That would make President Barack Obama go green with envy.”
Saying that this was for a “very good reason”, Bhadrakumar contends, “The French got, finally, what they wanted, namely, a revision of the terms of conditions of the MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) deal that would absolve them of the need to make the Rafale fighter aircraft in the shoddy Indian defence factories.”
He says, “Any vendor would love to sell rather than co-produce with the buyer, but the previous UPA government was adamant for some strange reason that the French should stick to the terms of the tender under which they had won the deal”, adding, “Maybe, it was the then Defence Minister AK Antony’s magical touch”, or maybe the UPA didn’t want “yet another scam of arms procurement.”
Pointing out that “Modi has now blinked”, Bhadrakumar insists, “The chilling truth is that the MMRCA deal has been arbitrarily revised by Modi on a balmy weekend afternoon in Paris. Just like that. And, that too, without even India’s Defence Minister being involved in his discussions in Paris with his fawning French hosts.”
Bhadrakumar say, “The fact that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was inaugurating a fish stall in his home State of Goa even as Modi was striking the ‘flyaway’ Rafale deal in Paris speaks volumes about India’s cabinet system of government during the Modi era.” He wonders whether India was a “banana republic”.
“The spin being given is that the French are selling at a competitive price”, says Bhadrakumar, adding, “Of course, they will quote a good price. What else would you expect from shrewd businessmen? Because, any vendor knows that the trick is to somehow make the entry into the market.”
Under the deal, Bhadrakumar says, “The Indians have now no option but to buy dozens and dozens more of Rafale aircraft. The Indian Air Force is ‘locked in’. It can’t be that the IAF’s need for Rafale ends with 36 aircraft after having trained an entire cadre of personnel to fly and maintain the aircraft.”
Saying that the deal is also the of Modi’s talk of Make in India, Bhadrakumar underlines, “At least, this government should do us a favour—Modi and his Ministers should never dare to utter those eleven syllables again, ‘Make in India’. If they do so again, it will be an insult to the Indian people’s common sense and intelligence. A non-performing government is bad enough. But to sell airy dreams to the people is the height of political cynicism.”

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.