It may be only I, but for some reasons I don’t particularly admire those people who either want to win every argument, have answer to every question and speak at inappropriate forums. On second thoughts, I believe that most people don’t like such a behavior. In addition to that most people don’t appreciate those who speak on behalf of someone else.
Ever since BJP came to power in 2014, and more so after the recent Rafale deal controversy, the party in power is indulging in all sort of these behaviors. The key ministers in the Government not only want to win every argument, have answer to every question and speak at inappropriate forums; they are also telling truth, which they want people to believe in, in installments. Yes, they are telling truth, as if it needs to be created (and creation needs time).
Lets talk about Rafale deal now.
It is still difficult to believe why any Government will be so reluctant to issue a white paper on a deal; or constitute a Parliamentary committee (JPC) on the issue. It will at least save the government from roll backs on its previous statements.
5 Reasons which make Rafale deal look suspicious, mainly because of the above behavior on the part of the Indian Government:
- Reluctance to tell the price : Multiple ministers in the Government are giving reasons as to why the price of each fighter jet cannot be disclosed. This looks funny. Telling the price will end all the controversy regarding the price. So why not tell the price? If the Government has taken a good deal from France, then it is absurd not to disclose the price because any country who will offer that much money to France will get a similar aircraft with more or less same technical specifications. By not disclosing the price (along with the technical specifications) the Government is putting itself under speculation. Rs. 50,000 Lakh crores is a big amount. There may be two reasons for such a reluctance, either Government is hiding something or it is undermining the importance of “clear line of communication”and “clear communication”.
- Stretching the National interest and morale of defense forces argument too much: Three days ago, the Indian Air Force chief said that the quick purchase of Rafale fighter jets was important because of country’s security reasons. The statement may appear a very reasonable one but it does not answer the question. No one is questioning why so early. The question is: At what price? Obviously, every defense equipment is purchased to make the nation secure. So the question is not “Why so early”, it is about the “Price”; and questioning the price can never be against National interest. It can never be against defense forces morale. So it is difficult to understand why the Government is stretching the National interest or morale argument too much. May be it is hiding something or it is just another attempt to win every argument.
- Reluctance to issue a white paper or constitute JPC: Today a perception is being built by the Government that bringing out a white paper in parliament or constituting a Parliamentary committee is an uncommon practice; and is done only in rarest or rare issues. In fact, the opposite is true. Many Parliamentary committees are formed in every Government’s tenure. The same is true for white papers. In previous governments, people have to resign from their post even before such committees are formed. So the present Government must not hesitate in accepting such suggestion. It will do more good to the Government, such as: 1) Make it clear whether the Congress and the defense minister A K Antony is suppressing facts and making false claims or NOT. 2) Make it clear why 126 Rafale fighter plane deal of Congress led UPA was bad. 3) Make it clear what expertise the new 10 days or 3 months or 6 months old company in the new Modi led NDA Government deal will bring which HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) lacked. As far as I know, HAL is the only company in India which has manufactured and assembled fighter planes in its 70 years long existence. A white paper, a parliamentary committee will be better than choosing wrong forums for communicating with the people.
- Inability to explain clearly why 36 jets instead of 126 : If the present Modi Government is buying the aircraft at a lower price than the one negotiated by the UPA government, then why is it buying just 36?… It must buy 126? Or if there is no need for that many fighter planes, then the deal amount should be just one-fourth of the Congress led UPA deal (More on price argument in next point).
- Price argument presented by the Government: If I understood correctly, then the Finance Minister Government of India, recently in an article said going by the decline in money value since UPA signed the deal, the new price paid by the Modi Govt is actually some percentage points less than UPA’s deal. If I understood correctly, then this again is too far fetched. This is a far fetched logic because the Government is not using the same logic while showing its achievements. If same methodology will be used to calculate everything, then the achievements may not look like achievements. It seems just another attempt by the Government to win the argument.
Day before yesterday, the defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman attacked Congress by saying, and I quote:
“All these attributes that are being put to us about HAL (being dropped)… it’s not for us but UPA to answer as to why the agreement between Dassault and HAL did not happen. The UPA government could have done
everything to strengthen HAL’s offer, to make sure its terms were appealing enough for Dassault… to conclude the agreement,”
Ms. Sitharaman’s argument can be excepted, but before doing so ask where she made the attack on the now scrapped UPA’s Rafale deal?
Ms. Sitharaman said this during a media interaction at the Indian Women’s Press Corps in New Delhi. Apart from the above, she said much else. But that again becomes pointless. Why? Because she chose the wrong place to make those statements.If she believes in what she says, then the Parliament is the appropriate forum.