Rafale scam happened in UPA government; how old is the tradition of corruption in defense deals?

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New Delhi: In a new media report, it has been revealed that Dassault Aviation, a French company that manufactures Rafale fighter jets, between 2007 and 2012, that is, when the UPA government was in the country. Then some middlemen in India were given a bribe of Rs 65 crore based on the fake invoice.

The first defense scam happened in the year 1948

The first defense scam in India happened in 1948 when India bought a Jeep from Britain for ArmyArmy. From independence till now, whenever India bought jeeps, bought guns, or bought planes. There were allegations of corruption in every deal, and India ranks second in the world in buying arms. Yet, due to the allegations of corruption, there is still a shortage of weapons in India.

In the west, India shares a 3,323 km long border with Pakistan. In the east, about 4 thousand kilometers long, it is bordered by China. There have been war-like situations for India on these fronts, and ArmyArmy needs weapons to deal with any war. There has never been a period in India when ArmyArmy had sufficient weapons. Governments and the military have recognized that if India had to fight a war with both Pakistan and China at the same time, the current fleet of weapons would not be able to meet the needs of the war.

Mediapart exposed the scam.

The biggest reason for this shortcoming is the delay in the purchase of weapons. This delay is because India often gets accused of corruption and scams after defense deals. As happened in this case. According to a new report by France’s Investigative Journal named Mediapart, a bribe of 75 lakh euros, i.e., about 65 crore rupees in Indian rupees, was taken in the procurement process of Rafale fighter jets.

Accused of giving Rs 65 in bribe

These bribes were given by the French company Dassault Aviation between 2007 and 2012 when the UPA government was in India. It is alleged that this company gave Rs 65 crore to intermediaries in the UPA government as a bribe so that India could finalize this deal as soon as possible. It has also been told in this report that all the evidence has been with the Central Investigation Agency CBI and ED since 2018.

Sushen Gupta, to who the UPA government gave this bribe, was also named in the Agustawestland Helicopter scam. Another coincidence is that between 2007 and 2012 when a bribe of Rs 65 crore was taken to get the Rafale Rafale Plane deal done. At the same time, the Augusta Westland Helicopter also happened. There are allegations of scams and bribery in two big defense deals at the same time.

India is the second arms buyer in the world

India is the second-largest country in the whole world in terms of arms purchases. Between 2016 and 2020, after Saudi Arabia, India had done the most defense deals with other countries. Not only this, out of all the weapons purchased in the world last year, India alone got 10 percent of the guns. Apart from this, in the previous 15 years, our country has spent 80 Billion US Dollars, i.e., 6 lakh crore rupees, on purchasing weapons.

Now the question is that when India is the second-largest country to buy arms in the whole world, then why does the IndArmyArmy not have enough weapons. For example, if India had to fight a war with both China and Pakistan at the same time today, then a total of 756 fighter jets would be needed. At the same time, the Indian Air Force has only 594 fighter aircraft. Even if you compare only with China, then the strength of India is a little less. Like China has 74 submarines, India has 16 submarines. China has 2 Aircraft Carriers while India has only 1 Aircraft Carrier.

Why is there a shortage of weapons in the country?

Today the opposition of our country says that the IndArmyArmy is not ready for the Two-Front War. The government also believes that there is a shortage of weapons with ArmyArmy. You have to understand why there is this shortcoming. Only a few months after independence, India started importing weapons. With this purchase, the tradition of scams in defense deals also started.

In 1948, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru gave a deal to buy 200 new Jeeps from Britain. But contrary to the agreement, only 155 Jeeps were delivered to the IndArmyArmy at that time. Later, when there was a dispute over this, the interim government was accused of scam in the defense deal. It was also said that V.K. Krishna Menon had taken a bribe under the guise of this deal. It was the same VK Krishna Menon, who was considered close to Nehru and later became India’s Defense Minister. He also had the responsibility of the Defense Minister during the 1962 Indo-China war.

The government was shaken by Bofors scam
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In 1987, when after a long wait, the Government of India made a deal with a Swedish company to purchase Bofors guns, there were also severe allegations of corruption. It was said that the then Rajiv Gandhi government had received a bribe of Rs 64 crore for this deal. This issue had become very big in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections, due to which Rajiv Gandhi’s government was severely defeated. Due to this scam, there were many problems in the purchase of Bofors cannon, which directly impacted the IndArmyArmy.

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