Rafale fighter aircraft
Rafale fighter aircraft.Reuters

The controversial Rafale deal of over 7.87 billion euros (Rs 59,000 crore) for acquiring 36 Rafale fighter jets has been a huge issue in India, involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Anil Ambani's firm Reliance Aerospace Ltd.

When the Modi government is unable to explain this inflated amount the country is paying for the earlier version of jets, French minister Florence Parly on Monday tweeted that France has ordered 28 Rafale jets at half the cost compared to what India had paid.

It is reported that France has placed an order for an upgraded variant of 28 Rafale F4 aircraft with Dassault Aviation for 2 billion euros.

But the French government has denied this saying that the 2 billion euros are in fact for the development of the new F4 version of the aircraft and not to purchase the said fighters.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is getting the delivery of 36 F3R version of the Rafale jets in the 2019-2022 timeline, as per the deals signed by the NDA government in September 2016.

The PM Modi-led NDA government had inked the contract for 36 Rafale jets in April 2015 for which the government refused to give the exact price details, citing national security as a reason at that time. But the government later changed the reason saying that the two countries had signed a confidentiality agreement way back in 2008.

On March 12, 2018, the government gave the price details to the Parliament, mentioning the basic aircraft price at Rs 670 crore and the rest Rs 1,000 crore per aircraft was for additional modifications needed for the jet, including weapons.

Alexandre Ziegler tweet on Rafale issue
Alexandre Ziegler tweet on Rafale issuetwitter

The French ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler, tweeted on the issue that, "France did not announce yesterday any new aircraft acquisition order! The amount you're referring to will finance solely the development of the new F4 standard for the Rafale. The 28 aircraft remaining to be delivered to the Air Force are part of previous acquisition contracts."

Congress has alleged that the Rafale deal was over-priced and only intended to benefit Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as the offsets partner of Dassault Aviation. Both the companies had linked together and formed Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL).