A top Russian arms trade official suggested that India may cancel the results of its tender for the purchase of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA).
“I wouldn’t say that the MMRCA tender is a closed issue. We have information that the tender is still up in the air,” said Vyacheskav Dzirkaln, Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation.
The French Rafale aircraft won the MMRCA tender, whereas Russia’s MiG-35 did not even make it to the shortlist, which also included the European Eurofighter.
Mr. Dzirkaln told the Interfax-AVN news wire on Tuesday that neither the Indian nor the French side were happy with the financial terms of the deal and the extent of technology transfer.
“The sides have so far failed to reach agreement on these issues,” the Russian official claimed.
He did not rule out that India may refloat the tender.
“In the tender is floated again, we would be prepared to take part, taking into account the lessons we have learnt,” Interfax quoted Mr. Dzirkaln as saying.
The Russian official said the Indo-Russian defence cooperation had “enormous” potential.
“India is Russia’s Number One defence partner. It accounts for more than a third of the total volume of our military-technical cooperation with foreign countries,” he said.
Russia’s defence sales topped $13 billion last year.
“The potential [of Indo-Russian defence cooperation] is enormous and prospects for growth are very impressive,” Mr. Dzirkaln said.
He spoke hours after the news came that the U.S. Apache Longbow had beaten Russia’s Mi-28 in the $1.4-billion Indian tender for the purchase of 22 heavy-duty attack helicopters.
Mr. Dzirkaln said Russia was prioritising technology transfer and license production of high-tech defence systems in its defence cooperation with India. He revealed that a contract for the supply to India of additional 42 long-range multirole Su-30MKI fighters to India will be signed in the next few months.
“The contract is ready and practically finalised with the Indian side. It is currently undergoing procedures within the Indian Defence Ministry. We hope that it will be signed before the end of the year,” Mr. Dzirkaln said.