The People's Daily, the Chinese Communist newspaper, says the sale of the Rafale fighter plane 'encourages, excites and spurs India's appetite and ambition to become a great military power while intensifying its aggressive and expansionist tendencies, which poses a serious threat to peace and stability in Asia.'
Does India have a choice, considering the People's Liberation Army's frantic speed of development, wonders Claude Arpi.
There were six in contention; four were dropped, and one became the Chosen One: The Rafale.
In French, 'Rafale' poetically means a 'sudden gust of wind.'
It was one of the six fighter aircraft in competition for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, MMRCA, when the Indian Air Force wanted to acquire 126 polyvalent fighter planes.
In April 2011, the IAF shortlisted two birds -- the Rafale produced by Dassault Aviation and the Eurofighter (known in Europe as 'Typhoon') from EADS, the European consortium.
It was a big deal worth $12 billion. You can imagine the stakes, especially for Dassault which a few months earlier, was unsuccessful in exporting its flagship plane to Brazil and the Emirates.
Finally on January 31, 2012, the IAF announced that the Rafale was the chosen one.