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The plane truth: on Rafale deal row

As things stand, only greater transparency will clear the air on the Rafale deal
The Rafale deal has been the subject of heated claims and counter-claims on two broad issues — that the contract to purchase 36 French multi-role fighter aircraft was grossly(अत्यंत/निहायत) overvalued and that it was tainted by crony capitalism. Ammunition(अस्र-शस्र/गोला बारूद) for the second charge came from an unexpected quarter with former French President François Hollande stating in an interview that it was India that suggested the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence Ltd. as the offset partner for the deal. This squarely contradicts(खंडन करना/विरोधाभास) what the Modi government has been saying all along. While the Centre has insisted(जोर दिया/आग्रह करना) that the choice of offset partners is entirely that of the manufacturer, or of Dassault Aviation(विमान-वहन), Mr. Hollande’s remarks were widely perceived(माना जाता है/समझना) as bolstering(मजबूत करना/सशक्त) the Congress allegation(आरोप/इलज़ाम) that the Rafale deal was structured to favour one industrialist. In the storm(तूफान/हल्ला बोलना) that ensued(लागू/पीछा करना), the clarificatory statements issued — by the Centre, the French Foreign Ministry and Dassault — did little to clearly address what Mr. Hollande had said. The Defence Ministry’s statement merely(केवल/सादे तौर पर) reiterated that governments have no role in offset contracts, which are purely commercial. The French government said pretty much the same thing, and Dassault’s statement reaffirmed(फिर से पुष्टि की/साबित करना) that it had chosen to tie up with Reliance Defence. But all this merely begs the question: did the Centre suggest a partnership with Reliance Defence as Mr. Hollande said? Also, if so, what form did it take? A firm nudge in that direction? A quiet whisper (धीरे-धीरे बोलना/फुसफुसाना) in someone’s ear? Who suggested to who? And when? It remains to be seen whether Mr. Hollande will now choose to complete his half-finished remarks to the French investigative website.

No questions have been raised about the capabilities(क्षमताओं) of the Rafale jet, and the corruption allegations havepersisted(क़ायम रहना/दृढ़ रहना) in the absence(अनुपस्थिति) — unlike in the case of some other defence deals such as Bofors — of a financial trail. But a fair part of the reason for the concerns(चिंताओं/मामला) about the deal relate to process. If it was the temptation(लोभ) to make a headline-grabbing(हथियाना/धरना) announcement that led Prime Minister Modi to unexpectedly announce the decision to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft, during his France visit in April 2015, it was a bad mistake. It is true that the deal was signed only in September 2016, after clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security, but Mr. Modi’s 2015 declaration(घोषणापत्र) of a new deal clearly caught even many of his senior officials unawares(अनजाने में,/एकाएक), who were labouring under the belief that negotiations for the purchase of 126 Rafale aircraft, initiated(आरंभ करना/सूत्रपात करना) by the UPA government, were still on. As things stand, greater transparency is the only way to clear the air. Private briefings to Opposition leaders and the disclosure of all information that doesn’t jeopardize(जोखिम में डालना/ख़तरे में डालना) national security or impact(प्रभाव/असर) the aircraft’s’ operational capability are good starting points. The decision to reject the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to examine the deal should be reconsidered(पुर्विचार करना). If the political war over Rafale continues, it is defense modernization that will become the real victim(पीड़ित).


Important Vocabulary

1.Persisted(क़ायम रहना/दृढ़ रहना) 
Synonyms: continue, endure, go on, linger, persevere
Antonyms: cease, discontinue, give up, go, halt

2.Contradicts(खंडन करना
Synonyms: belie, contravene, counter, deny, differ
Antonyms: admit, agree, allow, approve, consent

3.Storm(तूफान/हल्ला बोलना)
Synonyms: blast, blizzard, cyclone, disturbance, downpour
Antonyms: calm, quiet, clearness, peace

4.Ensued(लागू/पीछा करना)
Synonyms: arise, befall, come up, emanate, occur
Antonyms: cause, cease, disregard, halt, neglect

5.Whisper (धीरे-धीरे बोलना/फुसफुसाना) 
Synonyms: buzz, gossip, hint, innuendo, murmur
Antonyms: silence, information

6.Persisted(क़ायम रहना/दृढ़ रहना)
Synonyms: continue, endure, go on, linger, persevere
Antonyms: cease, discontinue, give up, go, halt

7. Jeopardize (जोखिम में डालना/ख़तरे में डालना)
Synonyms: imperil, threaten, chance, gamble, hazard
Antonyms: guard, protect, save, design, plan



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