NEW DELHI: India has managed to negotiate the cost of 36 Rafale warplanes at its ‘targeted’ price to clinch the much-talked-about deal with France.
According to a source, though the final agreement will take some time to be signed, the year-old negotiations, between the two countries, concluded after France settled for Euros 7.8 billion.
Sources said though France compromised, the IAF may not be able to get the desired weapons and radar systems in the reduced cost. According to a top Ministry of Defence official privy to the development, India was set on clinching the deal for 36 Rafale jets at Rs 65-68,000 crores. However, on the other side, Dassault, which manufactures the aircraft quoted a whopping figure of the nearly 90,000 crore.
The IAF has been negotiating for 36 nuclear-capable Rafale jets in fly-away condition and fitted with weapon systems like active electronically scanned phased array radar, high end beyond-visual-range missiles and defensive weapon systems.
Besides the price, France has also apparently agreed to 30 per cent offsets in the deal, which means French companies like Dassault have to plough 30 per cent of the contract value back into India as offsets.
In the absence of mutually agreed price, the deal could not be inked during French President Hollande’s visit during Republic Day celebrations. It had only dashed the hopes of the IAF, which is struggling to cope with its depleting fleet strength, but also caused embarrassment to New Delhi as no major announcement was made during the meeting of the top political leadership of both countries.
In a joint statement on 25 January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Hollande had hoped to sort out the financial aspects in ‘couple of days’. Even Dassault Aviation said it expected a complete agreement on the planes in four weeks’ time.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had during his visit to France in April 2015 announced his decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets citing operational necessity of the IAF.