India: Rafale Agreement: controversy over the removal of the anti-corruption clause | India News

NEW DELHI: A new controversy erupted on Monday over the anti-corruption clause of the Rafale fighter agreement after a newspaper article suggested that the Modi government had abandoned the crucial provision before finalizing the deal. agreement with France. The ANI news agency, quoting government documents, said, however, that the amendments to the intergovernmental agreement had been made by the Congress-led UPA government in 2013.

According to the newspaper, the Indian government has made "major and unprecedented concessions" in 7,87 billion euros contract Gust . He said the essential provisions on anti-corruption and escrow account payments were removed several days before the signing of the intergovernmental agreement.

According to official documents, the Defense Procurement Council (DAC), chaired by then Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar, met in September 2016 and "ratified and approved" eight amendments to IGA, procurement protocols, clearing agreements and clearing schedules. .

However, ANI reported that the previous UPA government had defined the policy for signing intergovernmental agreements without following the standard operating procedure (SOP) or standard contract document (SCD) conventionally.

Citing sources, ANI said that the Indian negotiating team that had ratified the contract of purchase of 36 Rafale fighter planes from the French company Dassault as part of an intergovernmental agreement was only following the policy established by the former UPA government.

According to the documentation shared by the NNA, Article 71 of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) approved in 2013 stated that "it may happen that contracts have to be made with friendly foreign countries, which may be necessary because geostrategic benefits These purchases would not follow the standard purchase procedure (PSP) and the standard contract document, but would be based on provisions mutually agreed by the governments of both countries. an intergovernmental agreement after authorization from the FCA. "

The 72 clause stipulated: "In cases of high value acquisition, especially in cases where the support of the product is needed for a long time, it may be desirable to conclude a separate intergovernmental agreement (if not not already covered by a framework agreement covering all cases) with the government of the country in which it is proposed to procure the equipment after the required interministerial consultation. Such an intergovernmental agreement is supposed to protect the interests of the Indian Government and should also provide for foreign government assistance in the event that the contract (s) encounters an unforeseen problem. "

In reaction to the report, the President of the Congress Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of facilitating "looting".

In a tweet, Rahul attacked the Modi government following the removal of the anti-corruption clause and said: "NoMo anti-corruption clause. The Chowkidar himself opened the door to allow Anil Ambani to fly 30 000 crore to the IAF (Indian Air Force). "

The former Union finance minister and senior congressman, P Chidambaram, also spread similar sentiments to the Modi government over the anti-corruption clause and related provisions.

He said the agreement with Rafale was proceeding faster than the government thought. First, it was the cost allocation of India-specific enhancements on 36 aircraft instead of 126 aircraft giving Dassault a boon. Then, it is the revelation that the "PMO" is conducting "parallel negotiations", undermining the efforts of the Indian Bargaining Team, he added.

The government and the BJP have yet to respond to accusations by congressional leaders about the newspaper report.

This article appeared first (in English) on THE TIMES OF INDIA