The BJP’s stormy petrel Subramanian Swamy has for long been publicly opposed to the $22 billion Rafale deal, to the point of even suggesting that there was more to the UPA government’s choice than met the eye. In February 2012, The Sunday Times of London quoted Swamy as saying he had initially been told the Eurofighter had won the deal to supply 126 fighter jets but that it all changed after the entry of a veteran French consultant, Bernard Baiocco, an ex-employee of the defence firm Thales, which contributes radar and electronic systems to Rafale. “Baiocco was here (in Delhi) and he went around, and everything changed after that,” Swamy had said, explaining the UPA’s sudden change of heart. With the Modi government poised to indicate its choice, Swamy spoke to Pranay Sharma. Excerpts:
What do you think of the Rafale deal?
It stinks right through. The deal should be frozen or scrapped and negotiations for the MMRCA should begin afresh.
Why do you say this?
There are a number of reasons but foremost Rafale was finalised not through commercial negotiation; it was done by private conversations between Sonia Gandhi, her sisters and Carla Bruni, wife of then French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Your other objections...
No country outside France has so far bought the Rafale. Some countries had shortlisted it, but rejected it later. We must find out why they did so. We must also know why it is so much more expensive than the other competitors. With the kind of money India has pledged to buy the planes, it can actually buy over the entire company that makes them. Moreover, there are also reports that it is trying to win the contract by giving a subcontract to an influential Indian industrialist. In addition, its performance in terms of fuel consumption etc was much higher and unimpressive during the recent Libyan campaign.
So what should be done about the Rafale deal?
I had written to the UPA defence minister A.K. Antony citing reports and the information on the Sonia Gandhi family’s link with Carla Bruni. Being an honorable man sensitive about his image and reputation, Antony had frozen negotiations with Rafale. I am not sure why Arun Jaitley decided to defreeze it.
The BJP’s in power. Will you ask for Rafale deal to be scrapped?
We have a party meeting coming up in a few days. I will raise the issue not only with defence minister Jaitley but also with PM Narendra Modi. I’ll definitely bring it to their notice.
Subramanian Swamy’s interview (‘The Rafale deal must be scrapped...’) made me think about one thing: why has every defence deal has become indefensible nowadays?
Rajneesh Batra, Delhi
It’s actually the case that the kind of money we are paying for this deal is enough to buy the company itself.
Swami’s right, let’s buy the company, make the jets ourselves and sell it back to them!
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Hate pracharak Subramanian Swamy makes a fool of himself trying to besmirch Al Jazeera for a report that was fake.
Whoever acts for another country in India is a traitor and that is that simple.
Thanks Nassar sahib.
So you agree various Tanzeems ,Indian Mujhadins ,Deen Dars,Pak sponsored Terrorists ,various Mujahdeens AND THEIR PROPAGANDISTS IN INDIA AND ABROAD are acting against India !!
Thanks once again .
Subramanima Swamy is a well known person for his links with USA from where he hails and operates.He would never open his mouth against USA regardless of the shortcomings on any products from USA.One of this principle aim to promote US interests in India and should not be given the respect by the media and people.Whoever acts for another country in India is a traitor and that is that simple.
Swami is right, we can buy that company and ask them to make 1000s and sell it back to French
it is actually a fact that kind of money we are paying for this deal is enouhto buy the company producing jets..
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