This is probably the third time HAL has come out in open and pleaded the political parties not to use them as a political tool for their gimmicks. This time it is the Chairman of the HAL institute who has made an open remark against political parties who have dragged the institution into politics.
R Madhavan who is the chairman of the state-run aerospace and defence company told in an interview to Economic Times not to drag HAL into Rafale deal row. In his statement he said HAL is not in the offsets business and is not contending for offsets in the Rafale deal. HAL had told its employees not to get involved with any political party on the issue. He said HAL was augmenting its LCA (light combat aircraft) production line and gearing up to secure more orders.
For a question on how would he respond to the ongoing controversy of Rafale deal, he made a firm statement saying, Our message is clear — please do not bring HAL into it. Our job is to maximise our output for the stakeholders. We have told our people not to get involved with any political party on the issue because the whole thing has a negative impact on HAL. Our own unions have made statements that they are not party to any of it — neither on one side nor the other. These statements have been made even without us telling them to do so.
When R Madhavan was asked about Rahul Gandhi accusing government of depriving HAL from the offsets, he said, We are not in the offsets business. We are into manufacturing of aircraft. A transfer of technology and production are different from offsets. While some part of the offsets could come to HAL (in different programmes), we are basically not an offsets partner. In fact, we are not even contending for the offsets. We do not plan, for example, to have a line to make a foreign civilian jet. Our prime business is manufacturing, not offsets.
When he was asked the ability of HAL to manufacture light combat aircraft and the failures of the company to meet demands, he said,
HAL has been supporting the air force and even today 75% of the Air Force’s flying equipment are made or maintained by us. In any of the technical areas, our capability cannot be under question. Capacity could be an issue, and we are in the process of augmenting our capacity through our vendors. HAL has partnered with four private sector companies — Larsen and Toubro, VEM Technologies, Alpha Design and Dynamatics — who will be making almost the entire structure of the LCA. We only want to do the final integration. HAL would like to focus on design, integration, flight testing and support.
So, this is not the first time that HAL has clarified on the issue making it clear that Rafale deal had nothing to do with HAL. But seems like Rahul Gandhi only wants to create controversy in a desperate attempt to blame PM Modi on corruption.