Posted on September 26, 2018
Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the main opposition Congress party, has alleged that Mr Modi [Indian Prime Minister] Narendra Modi “favoured” an Indian company that is part of the French deal. Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has denied the allegation, saying the government signed the deal to meet the Indian Air Force’s combat requirements and had no role in choosing the French manufacturer’s local partner. The issue has caused a political storm in India, and much of the debate in TV news shows has revolved around it in the past few days. India, the world’s second-largest defence importer in 2017, signed a government-to-government deal with France in 2016 to buy 36 Rafale warplanes manufactured by Dassault Aviation. With this deal, Delhi is hoping to modernise its Soviet-era air force fleet. The Rafale is a multi-role aircraft – capable of carrying out long-range missions, including conducting highly-accurate sea and ground attacks. The first Rafales are expected to be delivered by 2019 and India is set to have all 36 jets within six years.