Rafale all set to fly: High level delegation to straighten last minutes differences
NEW DELHI: A high level delegation comprised of all three French defence firms, involved in the 36 Rafale fighter jet deal with Indian Air Force, have been camping in Capital to straighten the last minutes differences, if any, according to a top source in the government. After the Defence ministry approving the recommendations of the committee negotiating the deal for the last 16 months the file has now reached the Prime Minister’s Office for final vetting.
According to sources, privy to the development, representatives of Dassault aviation, MBDA and Thales are in talks with the government officials to give a much needed push for the deal. According to the contract, Dassault aviations, manufacturers the aircraft, MBDA provides weapons system package and Thales is giving avionics to the fighter jet.
“Representatives all three involved defence firms are in talks to take swift decision on any last minute doubt. Certainly, the deal is making a headway and should be done in a week’s time,”said a defence source.
It is believed that the PMO is making a strong push to conclude the deal, as it is already delayed. And the final report submitted by a team of negotiating the Rafale deal was approved by the highest acquisition body headed by the Defence minister Manohar Parrikar in its last meeting in August.
During his visit to France in April last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India would purchase 36 Rafale jets in a government-to-government contract.
Soon after the announcement, the defence ministry scrapped a separate process that was on to purchase 126 Rafale fighter planes, built by French defence giant Dassault Aviation.
The deal is expected to be worth around 7.89 billion Euros for the 36 fighter jets in fly away conditions.
The weapon systems, part of the deal, will also include the new age beyond visual range missile Meteor and Israeli helmet mounted display.
The price of the deal was brought down from nearly 10 billion Euros, as sought initially, due to various reasons, including tough negotiation by India, the discount offered by the French government and reworking of some of the criteria. It is not clear if the price has been brought down further but India was seeking more.
The new 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 jobs in India through offsets.