NEW DELHI: Despite the announcement to procure 36 Rafale multi-medium role combat aircraft made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Paris visit in April, the Ministry of Defence has so far failed to work out the modalities for its final approval. And pace of negotiations have started worrying the IAF, which is already battling its depleting combat strength.
According to sources in the MoD, the negotiations were expected to be completed by July. India has constituted a committee headed by Air Marshal S B P Sinha to hold negotiations with the French team, but despite several meetings the negotiations has not reached the conclusive stage.
Source claimed that France is offering the Rafale jets at almost the same price its Air Force is buying it from the original manufacturer, Dassault Aviation. The eventual cost will have come to about two-three per cent per cent more as it will be a government to government deal.Meanwhile, sources also indicated that the Offset Clause is considered to be the main hurdle. Another issue is the IAF seeking modifications on the French fighter so that a particular set of weapons could be integrated in the aircraft instead of the ones being offered by the French, which may increase cost.