By Anantha Krishnan M
Bengaluru, April 11: Thirty-six Rafale jets for the plane-deprived Indian Air Force (IAF) from Dassault Aviation! That’s news all around since last night after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sprang yet another surprise.
Finally, the much-hyped mother of all deals jettisoned out of the red-tape-trap, with even the number 36 surprising many.
Plane pundits are already out with many theories, with some even wondering the ‘logic’ behind going for such a small order, which is just enough to fill only two Squadrons.
But, those who saw the Rafale script from close quarters confirm to OneIndia that the story is far from over. Any more surprises on this front? “Can’t predict,” they say.
Sources confirm that the Modi government is in no mood to push Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) away, despite a strong private lobby wanting it to be out of the Rafale frame.
“Any additional orders for Rafales will have to be via the Make in India route and it will be HAL who will be manufacturing the same. The private sector too will be roped in subsequently,” an official in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
Reacting to the deal, Air Marshal M Matheswaran (Retd), former Deputy Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff (Policy, Planning and Development), IAF and currently an Advisor to HAL, told OneIndia the government’s was keen to find a quick solution.
“The PNCs are good if they find a logical solution. In my personal opinion the RFP is a closed chapter now. I am sure the government will take a fresh call. All the future moves will be linked to Make in India, ToT (Transfer of Technology), production standards, delivery schedules and HAL’s role,” says Matheswaran.