Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Feb 2019 11:03:34

THE insistence of Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi that the Rafale deal is loaded with corruption and that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi or his Office (PMO) is involved in the corruption, needs to be categorised as obstinate. It appears that Mr. Gandhi is making a personal campaign egged on by something that defies logic. He is pushing the debate to an ever-lower level by making allegations that stand no scrutiny. Currently also, as he alleged that the PMO was involved in parallel parleys to finalise the deal, some very senior former Defence and Civil officials insisted that the Rafale deal was the most transparent one. The Government has gone full distance from time to time to explain the details of whatever happened during the negotiations.

Despite all this, Mr. Rahul Gandhi is not willing to understand the details. He appears to be motivated only by a political purpose that actually seeks to bomb a lot of nuances of the country’s security interests. This is very unfortunate. 

Air Marshal S.B.P. Sinha (Retired) who led the Rafale negotiations has debunked the allegation by Mr. Gandhi that the PMO was conducting parallel parleys. Former Defence Secretary Mr. G. Mohan Kumar also has insisted that the Rafale deal came through one of the most transparent negotiations. Defence Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, other Ministers, the Prime Minister himself, and countless other experts have been vouching safe on highest levels of transparency of the Rafale deal. Adequate details, too, have been brought to public domain about the engagement of the Reliance company in Rafale deal.

In addition, the Government of France as well as the Dassault company have made it clear that everything is above the board since the negotiations have taken place on a Government-to-government basis, a process that is subjected to serious scrutiny and strict and no-nonsense audit at all levels.

Despite all these assertions, Mr. Gandhi does not seem interested in knowing the truth and is making repeated attempts to malign the Rafale negotiations, thus giving the impression that his interest lays only in electoral exploitation of falsehood. There is little doubt that when push comes to shove in electoral politics, everything, including falsehood, is considered fair. Despite this age-old impression, fine human societies have not lost sight of ethics, restraint, and fairness. Unfortunately, these fine principles seem to have been lost sight of.

We have an appeal to make -- to all political parties and their respective leaders -- that as the elections come near, let there be conscious efforts to eliminate cantankerousness from the debate. May there be a conscious effort to avoid foisting falsehood on the nation. For, when such efforts are repeatedly made, then the outcome is absolutely negative for the larger nation. Such an outcome can never be the goal of any nationalistic political party. For when such a conduct is resorted to, what is affected is national interest. When falsehood is being resorted to repeatedly to prove that the Rafale deal is loaded with corruption, its ugly effect is on the morale of not just the common people but also of the Defence Forces. Similar is the case about accusation that the surgical strikes never took place. No responsible leader should resort to such tactics to make a non-existent point.