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Most Nepalese now unhappy with Modi

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Kathmandu: Just a year ago when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed 10 agreements with Nepal and launched a bus service between the two countries, his popularity soared and soared. It is a different story now.

The reason is not hard to comprehend after talking to locals facing the brunt of blockages at the country’s entry points along India’s border that has caused widespread shortages in the landlocked nation.

“It’s a self-managed economic blockade by our long-time friend India,” said Deepak Shah, a shopkeeper in Kathmandu.

Shah said that New Delhi was retaliating against the Nepalese government since it approved a new constitution not to India’s liking.

“The Modi government sees the new constitution as discriminatory to one ethnic Indian community, Madhesis, who are settled along our borders (with India),” he said.

Shah’s sentiments were echoed by 35-year-old housewife Bimla Baidhya.

“The BJP-led Indian government is wooing Madhesis in Bihar where elections are due,” she said. Bihar along with Uttar Pradesh shares a long border with Nepal.

Many Nepalese say they are skipping one or two meals a day owing to a huge shortage of cooking gas in Kathmandu.

Cab driver Pradip Sapkota said China was the new friend of Nepal.

“We will get all our fuel and ration from China now. Even when the earthquake hit this country (in April), China proved to be a more trusted friend than India,” he added.

Picking holes in Modi’s address in Japan, college going Bikash Shrestha said his speeches in Nepal and Japan showed his diplomatic colours.

“When he was in Kathmandu (in August 2014), he said Lord Buddha was born in Nepal. But a month later when he visited Japan he said ‘India is a land of Buddha’. We don’t take it as a slip of tongue,” she said.

Shortly after assuming office in 2014, Modi made a high-fanfare visit to Kathmandu — the first by an Indian prime minister in 17 years.

The Madhesi parties from the Terai region bordering India have been protesting at Nepal’s entry points to build pressure on the government to meet their demands to amend the new constitution.

Nepalese officials say 70 percent of their trade comprises mainly essential goods such as fuel and cooking gas and comes from India.

There is another side to the crisis in Nepal.

People here have formed car pools to overcome the fuel shortage resulting from the blockades along India’s border with Nepal.

Long queues in front of petrol pumps, shortage of essential commodities resulting in price rise, lack of public transportation and cramped buses are common sights across Nepal since the new constitution came into being on September 20.

To overcome the problems, the government has rationed fuel — 10 litres a week for cars and three litres for a motorbike.

For some, the fuel shortage is a positive thing.

“Now there is not too much vehicular congestion on the streets of Kathmandu. A majority of people walk. This improves their health and also checks pollution,” octogenarian Dalip Rana said.

On Sunday, Nepal got some relief as over 100 trucks, stranded on the Indian border for over 10 days with essential and petroleum goods, entered the country.

 

(Vishal Gulati, IANS)

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All You Need To Know About The Rafale Deal Controversy

The fiasco that Congress is creating on the Rafale Deal is certainly not fair

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Rafale Deal is very important for both the countries involved i.e. India and France.
Rafale Deal is very important for both the countries involved i.e. India and France.

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Rafale Deal happened between India and France
  • The Rafale Deal is about the Rafale fighter jets
  • 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi finalised the Rafale Deal during his visit to France in 2015. (FILE PHOTO)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi finalised the Rafale Deal during his visit to France in 2015. (FILE PHOTO)

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.

NDA government has got a better price on the Rafale Deal than the UPA governement.
NDA government has got a better price on the Rafale Deal than the UPA 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.

Also Read: Make in India: France to set up production centers for Rafale fighters

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.

The Rafale Deal involves no private party from the side of India. www.worldwide-military.com
The Rafale Deal involves no private party from the side of India. www.worldwide-military.com

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.

Also Read: IAF’s Rafale Deal with France: India confirms order

The fiasco that Congress is creating on the Rafale Deal is certainly not fair as the NDA government has proved that their deal is better than the one which was undertaken during the UPA government.