India is planning to conclude the multi-billion dollar contract to procure 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France by next month.
"There is no reason why it should not be concluded in June. Not much is left. It is in the last phase," Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told PTI in Delhi in an interview.
Rejecting suggestions that there has been a delay in signing the contract for nearly 7.89 Billion Euros to procure the French fighter planes, the Minister said any such process takes at least 6-8 months.
"We started the process only in July last year. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement in April, everything came to us. We asked them (French) for various options. We met them and finally one line was decided," he said.
Noting that he is travelling for the next 8-10 days, the Minister said he will "see to it" that the deal is "concluded fast".
"Things have to be placed properly on the table. They (negotiating team) now have to submit a report to me on what has been discussed. After that we have to discuss it in the Cabinet. We will first sign an Inter Government Agreement. All these things take 3-4 weeks," he said.
The deal was announced by PM Modi in April last year during his visit to France when he said India would purchase 36 Rafales in a government-to-government contract.
Soon after the announcement, the Defence Ministry scrapped a separate process that was on to purchase 126 Rafales, built by French defence giant Dassault Aviation.
The current deal comes with the clause of delivering 50 per cent offsets, creating business worth at least 3 billion Euros for smaller Indian companies and generating thousands of new jobs in India through the offsets.
In fact, the toughest phase in the negotiations that began in July was to get the French to agree to 50 per cent offsets in the deal.
Initially, Dassault Aviation was willing to agree to reinvest only 30 per cent of the value of its contract in Indian entities to meet the offset obligations.
The French side finally agreed to invest 50 per cent of the value following a phone conversation between PM Modi and French President Francois Hollande late last year.
The commercial negotiations, as in the pricing of the planes, equipment and other issues, actually began only in mid-January this year.
Dassault Aviation has said that it may decrease production of the Rafale aircraft if the deal to sell 36 aircraft to India does not materialize this year. “The ball is not in my court, ball is in hands of the Indian authorities”, Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation was quoted as saying at the EBACE business aircraft show in Geneva yesterday
The Indian indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is as capable of the French Dassault Rafale, Indian Defense Minister said Saturday. “Our Tejas is having the same qualities as Rafale does
France has offered to sell 36 rafale fighter jets to India for nothing less than $8.56 billion
The Indian government on Tuesday said the Inter Government Agreement (IGA) and the offset contract for the multi-million euro Rafale fighter jet deal is yet to be finalised. In a written reply to Parliamant on Tuesday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said details including transfer of technology through offsets will emerge after the negotiations are completed
Indian state-run Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) completed the maiden trail flight of its indigenous basic trainer HTT-40 (Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40) Tuesday. The first flight took off around 8 in the morning in Bengaluru
France has “greatly” lowered the price of the Rafale fighter jet for India and all requirements (concerning technical, financial and offsets) have been met, CEO of Dassault Aviation, Eric Trappier said today. In an interview to French publication Les Echos, Trappier said that we (meaning the French government which is negotiating the government-to-government deal) are ready to enter at any time (to sign the contract) since the ball in the camp of the Indian government
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