Hyderabad: As the first batch of Rafale jets landed in India on 29 July, the Indian National Congress took to Twitter to claim that the erstwhile Congress government's efforts to purchase the French twin-engine fighter aircraft had finally borne fruit.
The Congress Rafale purchase would have ensured India receives 126 jets instead of BJP's 36.
108 Rafale jets would have been Made in India.
India would have received the Rafale jets by approx 2016
Cost of each Rafale jet would have been Rs. 526 crore.
— Congress (@INCIndia) July 29, 2020
The INC, on its official Twitter page, also said that the Congress would have ensured India received 126 jets instead of 36 promised by the BJP. “The Congress Rafale purchase would have ensured India receives 126 jets instead of BJP’s 36. 108 Rafale jets would have been Made in India. India would have received the Rafale jets by approx 2016. Cost of each Rafale jet would have been Rs. 526 crore,” the tweet read.
The claim that the Congress-led government closed the Rafale deal in 2012 is TRUE.
According to an Economics Times article dated 31 January 2012, the French company Dassault Aviation bagged the multi-billion dollar deal to supply 126 combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force.
“The contract will be signed only in the next fiscal. According to the Request for Proposal (RFP), the winner of the contract will have to supply 18 of the 126 aircraft to the IAF in 36 months from its facilities and the remaining would be produced at HAL facilities in Bangalore,” the report read.
Six companies, including American F-16 and F-18, Russian MiG 35, Swedish Saab Gripen along with Eurofighter and Dassault Aviation were in the race. But in April 2011, the then Defence ministry shortlisted Dassault and EADS.
The process started with the issuing of a global tender in 2007 after which all six contenders were subjected to extensive field evaluation trials by the Indian Air Force at several locations across the globe.
An article in Hindu Businessline said according to the work share agreement signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Dassault Aviation, the two parties were responsible for 70 per cent and 30 per cent of the work, respectively, for 108 aircraft.
The agreement was signed on 13 March 2014 and the constitutional term of the 15th Lok Sabha ended on 31 May 2014.
Hence, the claim that the Rafale deal was closed during the Congress rule is TRUE.