Negotiations between Indian and French Governments to buy 36 Dassault Rafale fighter could take months, CEO of Dassault Aviation, Eric Trappier said.
“It is a matter of a few weeks to a few months”, Trappier said in an interview to Le Figaro newspaper ahead of signing ceremony in Qatar to buy 24 Dassault Rafale aircraft for the tiny gulf state.
India in April junked protracted negotiations with Dassault to buy 126 fighters in favour of a direct government-to-government deal to buy 36 airplanes in a flyaway condition.
Negotiations for the deal, agreed upon between the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Hollande are yet to begin.
Trappier’s statement reflected the guarded optimism of the French in dealing with India where defence procurement decisions could take decades.
Indian defense minister Manohar Parrikar has already emphasized that the aircraft to be bought from France will be of the same configuration which was tested by the Indian Air Force as part of the selection process.
While this could hasten an important aspect of the deal, it depends upon the commercial aspects; whether there are offsets, if an Indian company would be involved in any form and lastly, the price of the aircraft.
It would be fair to surmise that arms bought under government-to-government deals turn out to be more expensive those purchased directly from arms manufacturers. In fact, the reason India went in for a competitive bidding process, inviting various manufacturers was to get the best terms for itself.