After non-stop lies about the Rafale deal, now Rahul Gandhi has resorted to normalising air crashes that unfortunately Indian Air Force suffers regularity. In a press conference held today, while referring to the dissent note of Deputy Secretary (Air-II) of the defence ministry which was published in cropped for by The Hindu, the Congress president said that this document proves that Modi has stolen ₹30,000 crore and given to Anil Ambani. Addressing personnel from the Air Force, Rahul Gandhi said that this ₹30,000 crore could have given to fighter pilots when they die in a plane crash.
Needless to say, this is the most insensitive comment coming from a person aspiring to be the prime minister of the country. India has the dubious distinction of having lost the highest number of fighter aircraft and pilots of IAF in routine missions during peacetime, not in a war.
Just last week, two experienced test pilots of IAF had died when a Mirage 2000 aircraft they were flying on an acceptance trial crashed before it took off. The aircraft was recently upgraded by HAL. Therefore, even to talk about a possible crash of an Indian Air Force aircraft is very unfortunate. Our brave fighter pilots look forward to wreaking havoc on the enemy during a war, not to die in a crash.
Rahul Gandhi also continued with his lies while talking about the defence ministry note. Showing a printout of the cropped document, he said “it is written clearly here, that Prime Minister of India is a thief. He has stolen 30,000 crores from you, the defence ministry is objecting to his interference. Mr Anil Ambani is his man, and Mr Anil Ambani has been given 30,000 crore of your money. Now, my friends in the Air Force, pilots, remember one thing, this 30,000 crores could have been used for your safety, this 30,000 crores could have been given to your family, this 30,000 crore could have given to you, when you die in a plane crash. This is your money, this not the money of Anil Ambani”.
The insensitive reference to air crash apart, the entire quote by Rahul Gandhi is full of lies. The note does not mention anything that Rahul Gandhi mentions. It is merely a note by an officer who was not even part of the team negotiating the Rafale deal, and the note had a reply of defence minister Manohar Parrikar saying there is nothing worry, which was conveniently cropped by The Hindu and Rahul Gandhi. The objection was about PMO getting involved in the negotiations, it had nothing to do with price or any monetary aspect of the deal, forget about any mention of Anil Ambani getting 30,000 crore.
Everyone knows that Anil Ambani’s company is not getting ₹30,000 crore from the Rafale deal, that is an absolute lie that Rahul Gandhi keeps repeating and no journalist dares to confront him in numerous press conferences where he mentions this. The total offset obligation of all the foreign suppliers in the Rafale deal is around ₹29,000 crore, and Anil Ambani’s company has got a tiny portion of that offset business. Dassault Aviation has set up a 51:49 joint venture with Reliance Defence for manufacturing parts for Falcon civilian jet, and the total investment in that venture is ₹800 crore. Which means the investment of Dassault in that venture is less than ₹400 crore. Majority of offset business will go to public sector companies in the defence sector, including DRDO.
Moreover, offset business is not a dole given to business houses as Rahul Gandhi wants us to believe, this is an obligation of foreign vendors to invest a portion of deal value in India, or to purchase from India. Therefore, there is no 30,000 crore that has been taken away from fighter pilots. Total value for 36 Rafale jets is ₹58,000 crore, out of which 50% will be put back in India by the vendors are per offset requirement. Defence purchases can be made without offset obligation also, like the recent S-400 missile defence system deal with Russia. The ₹58,0000 crore has been already allocated for the purchase of the aircraft, and it has nothing to do with other funds like safety and compensation for pilots. Neither Anil Ambani is getting ₹30,000 crore from the deal, nor it could have gone for other purposes.