Prime Minister Narendra Modi is already in Seychelles and will reach Sri Lanka tomorrow. This will be Modi’s first visit to the island nation after 1987.
His visit to island nation comes after Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had justified his country’s navy shooting intruding Indian fishermen.
Modi`s visit to Sri Lanka is the most important in terms of Indian`s relations with its Indian ocean neighbors. Here are some major anticipated developments –
Modi will address the Sri Lankan Parliament and try to explore ways to boost economic partnership to make the free trade agreement between the countries more effective.
PM Modi is also expected to offer a credit line to Sri Lanka to ensure funds for infrastructure and development projects and expanded support for military training.
The stalled Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement could also be taken up by the two nations as the Lankans are interested in Indian investments in automobile parts, pharmaceutical, textile and engineering products.
He will also travel to Jaffna, the northern Sri Lankan Tamil majority region. ‘I will be visiting Mahabodhi Society in Colombo & travel to Anuradhapura, Talaimannar & Jaffna & interact with cross-section of society: PMO twitted after PM`s departure.
He will also push for the final approval for a 500 MW power plant to be built by India’s state-run National Thermal Power Corporation under a 2012 agreement in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.
The deal is getting into controversies because of the allegations de by the opposition, especially Congress
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015 made the announcement that India will buy 36 French-manufactured Rafale fighter jets from Dassault, a French aircraft builder and integrator. This came to be known as Rafale Deal.
The Rafale deal of 36 Rafale aircrafts between India and France was called a “win-win partnership” for both the countries.
But recently it has come under attack of the Opposition, mainly the Indian National Congress, which has alleged that there have been irregularities in this deal and its proceedings. However, the government has denied and rejected all the charges.
The Rafale Deal is nothing new and was also signed during the time of UPA government. The first time it came to light was during the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee where the original proposal was to buy 126 fighter jets.
After tests and negotiations in 2012, Rafale was considered L-1 bidder and negotiations started which only came to a conclusion as the Rafale Deal in 2015 under Prime Minister Modi’s government.
Now the UPA alleging irregularities on NDA government doesn’t seem fair to many because no deal took place under their government. The transfer of technology was a primary issue of concern between the two sides. Dassault Aviation also tried to deny to take the responsibility of quality control of the production of 108 aircraft in India. The Dassault provided for 3 crore man-hours for production of the Rafale jets in India, HAL’s estimate was approximately 3 times higher which resulted in an escalation of costs in the manifold.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit to France in 2015 helped bring this deal to a final conclusion. The government-to-government deal of 36 jets was to completed as soon as possible.
On costs of the Rafale Deal, NDA government has said that it got better terms than those quoted in the original bid under the UPA government. The total savings are reported to be of more than 1600 million Euros. However, the cost breakdown of Rafale Deal in the original bid under UPA government and in the 36 aircraft in the NDA’s government-to-government deal is not available for the public domain.
Under the current agreement, the Rafale Deals support the ‘Make In India’ initiative of the Indian Government through the IGA’s Article 12. It states that France will facilitate the implementation of ‘Make In India’. These critical design technologies were already discussed between the two governments in previous meetings. The present Rafale Deal is signed between two sovereign governments and there is no private individual, firm or entity involved in the process from the side of India. The procurement process also does not include any private company or firm from India.