FE: "How will Rafale 2.0 play out? The story runs between ‘arms dynamic’, state, contractors and...."

August 08, 2018

Front-line fourth-generation modern fighter Rafale, manufactured by the French major Dassault Aviation, was chosen as the winner in the global tender for 126 MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) before the Narendra Modi government took over in 2014. The deal was shelved and subsequently replaced by announcement of a new contract for direct purchase of 36 Rafale at a cost of about Rs 60,000 crore—the process for which has already been under way since 2015 and the contract signed in September 2016. As time flies, the opposition parties, led by the Congress, have voiced serious concerns about the Rafale deal at a time when India is slated to go for national elections in less than a year from now. It appears that Rafale is going to dominate electoral discourse in the time to come. One is reminded of a national uproar during the late 1980s over the purchase of Bofors, which eventually cost the then government dearly, although a similar consequence appears highly unlikely this time.

The Rafale deal typifies a classic case of ‘arms dynamic’—a term propounded and explained by Barry Buzan and Eric Herring in the classic book ‘The Arms Dynamic in World Politics’ (Lynne Rienner, 1998)—which explains that arms transactions can be a complex affair involving elements of the state, bureaucracy and armed forces from the recipient side, and manufacturers and the state from the supplier side. Such is the ubiquity in the process as well as larger understanding between the supplier and recipient that it most often leads to inconclusive consequences, if questions are raised about its intent or process. All the more reason such cases become more complicated when the suppliers and recipients are relatively self-sufficient and deficient, respectively, in their industrial capacities. The absence of clearly-defined processes, although claimed otherwise, as well as hazy national security considerations leave little scope for probity and accountability, although large public resources are appropriated by the state.

For complete article, See, How will Rafale 2.0 play out? The story runs between ‘arms dynamic’, state, contractors and taxpayers, August 06, 2018.



Deba Mohanty (Vice President @sspconline) Financial Express, August 08, 2018