Setting up panel, confidential meet can end Rafale row, suggests ex-IAF chief

Kolkata: Former Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha has come out with a suggestion of setting up a panel including ruling and opposition parties at the parliament level and hold a “confidential” meeting to resolve the controversy over the Rafale aircraft acquisition for the Indian Air Force (IAF). According to him, the political dogfight over the defence deal has tarnished the country’s image before the world.

Raha was speaking on the sidelines of the two-day long National Seminar and Exhibition on ‘Defence Production: Public Private Partnership – Focus Eastern India’ organised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce which got underway on Friday.

On the slugfest between the Modi government and the Congress, Raha said: “This is a political campaign. And such things take place when there is a big ticket deal. It only gives a dimension in which things get blown out of proportion than what the actual problem is.”

Asked on the Congress’ allegations of each aircraft’s price been hiked three times more than what was in original contract with Dassault Aviation he quipped, “I don’t recall the price now.”

He elaborated, “As a result of this, we are not only losing faith in our system but also losing our esteem before the world. I cannot say whether there is anything wrong in it or not because everything is written in the documents. All have been documented.”

Raha added, “My suggestion is that all the stakeholders including the political parties, authorities and the parliament which is also the highest office, should set up a committee and hold a confidential meeting to discuss and resolve the problem. That is my view on it.”

Read more