Monday, January 21, 2013

The Rafale deal and why it makes China nervous

My article on the Rafale deal is posted on

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.

Read on...

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