IT took 15 years to discuss the deal with Dassault Rafale. Then, overnight, India concluded an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of €7.87 billion, the first fighter aircraft deal since the purchase of Sukhois from Russia in the late 1990s. Government sources claim that there is no question of any middleman or a broker. History indicates whenever the deals are investigated, there were brokers and middleman in every defence deal. One has to study the context in which such deals are clinched. The Rafale deal was finalised just after the Uri attack. After the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, billions of dollars of search and surveillance equipment was purchased by both business houses and government. Nowadays, there is more finesse and it is impossible to pinpoint the brokers. If we turn to the gfiles archives, it carried a cover story in March 2012 titled, “India’s gift to Sarkozy”
(http://www.gfilesindia.com/Contents/pdfMagazine/Mar2012/Default.html) The story carried a box in which gfiles stated, “It is significant that hard on the heels of the signing of the agreement between RIL (Reliance Industries Limited) and Dassault Aviation, an RIL spokesman said “the objective of the MoU is to identify areas where both the companies can work together in the defence sector.” The RIL spokesperson said that while there has been no commitment on any kind of investment or joint venture, teams from both the companies will sit together to chalk out strategic opportunities. The outcome will depend on the talks and only after the final agreement between Dassault and the Government is signed for the MMRCA, he said, refusing to divulge details on who will lead negotiations from the RIL side. The government has now signed the Rafale deal!
VOL. 10, ISSUE 7 | OCT, 2016