ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Covering Up the Rafale Trail

Successive disclosures on Rafale invite scrutiny of the PMO’s role and undermine the government’s claims.

 

In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha general election, the ­Rafale issue has galvanised the opposition parties, which are seeking to force Anil Ambani and the government to take responsibility for the irregularities surrounding the deal. On the other hand, spokespersons of the government are making every effort to disentangle it from these irregularities. However, recent revelations have embroiled the government further in the controversy, which reeks of corruption and malfeasance.

In April 2015, Ambani’s Reliance Defence secured a share in a contract for the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) acquisition of a number of Rafale jets, manufactured by Dassault Aviation of France. It was instant pay-off for a firm that had been registered just two weeks prior to the deal. The contract itself was sprung on the public with all the drama of a conjuration. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was wrapping up a visit to France, as part of his outreach to major world powers during the first year of his term. The stated intent of this outreach was a restructuring of the context of India’s external relations. As India’s foreign secretary, S Jaishankar, explained just ahead of the visit, it was a “leadership level visit” which would not get mired in “deep details of ongoing defence contracts.”

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Updated On : 26th Feb, 2019
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