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Updated: February 7, 2012 01:34 IST

Cameron leads the attack on Indian decision on Rafale

Hasan Suroor
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British Prime Minister David Cameron. File photo
AFP British Prime Minister David Cameron. File photo

The BAE Systems whose bid was turned down was still in the hunt for the contract despite losing the first round of bidding, British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested.

Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday led an attack on India for selecting French firm Dassault Rafale for a mega deal to supply fighter jets ignoring British claims as MPs and the media accused New Delhi of “ingratitude,” arguing that Britain gave millions of pounds in aid to India.

Mr. Cameron told the House of Commons that he was “disappointed” by the decision and assured MPs that he would do all he could to persuade India to change its mind insisting that a contract to Dassault had not yet been granted.

The decision, announced on Tuesday, did “not rule out the Typhoon for India.” The BAE Systems whose bid was turned down was still in the hunt for the contract despite losing the first round of bidding, he suggested.

“Of course, I will do everything I can — as I have already — to encourage the Indians to look at Typhoon, because I think it is such a good aircraft,” he said.

“The decision is obviously disappointing, but it is about who the Indians have assessed as making the lowest bid and, therefore, asked to enter into further negotiations. They have not yet awarded the contract.”

Mr. Cameron's intervention came as his party MPs and right-wing media questioned the wisdom of giving aid to India if it persisted in “snubbing” Britain. India's decision was described as much a failure of British diplomacy as a personal setback to Mr. Cameron in his campaign to establish Britain as a “partner of choice for India.”

In the Commons, his senior Conservative Party colleague and a contender for the party leadership David Davis called for him to pull his full weight to get India to change its mind pointing out that “we give aid to India many times more than what France gives.”

Another Conservative MP Peter Bone said it was a “myth” that “doling out billions of pounds out to countries like this exerts any influence whatsoever on the decisions made by those governments when purchasing equipment.”

“We need to slash the international development money and invest the billions saved to help hard-pressed British families,” he said.

The decision also came under attack from Labour MPs, with Barry Gardiner, Chair of Labour Friends of India, calling for “major reforms” to U.K. Trade and Investment [UKTI] which promotes trade abroad. He also urged the Indian High Commission to take a “more pro-active role in encouraging British companies to invest in India.” The High Commission denied his claim relating to “downgrading” of India-U.K. trade relations.

The right-wing Daily Mail said the contract was lost despite the government claims that the U.K.'s £1billion aid package to India would help secure the order. It recalled that the Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell justified aid to India last year on grounds that it would facilitate selling Typhoon to India.

BAE Systems insisted it was not completely eliminated from the process and could still land the deal if India's talks with Dassault collapsed.

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the uk reconsider first their decision on the typhoon too, stop wasting money on the f-35 which is late, flawed and overpriced and buy your own plane if it is so great. until you can do that who else will (unless of course you bribe them big time and clearly 1 billion+ is not big enough, how much did you give the saudis to buy it??) and it is not a uk plane it is a european plane te bid was lead by the germans who clearly show more class than brits. france flies the rafale and is not not involved in eurofighter or f-35.

from:  jojo star
Posted on: Feb 5, 2012 at 15:05 IST

Brits actually think we have historical 'bond' with them. And that we
have to have gratitude for the railways, cricket and the 'great' English
language. Think of heads buried in the sand. And coming after the
tantrums that the Americans threw when their bid was rejected, it looks
like an Anglo-Saxon trait. The Germans have reacted with dignity.

from:  sp
Posted on: Feb 5, 2012 at 03:24 IST

This is no bloody aid! Aid is done in the name of the poor and the needy worldwide without actually bragging about it. Look at the Japanese. They have been through some or the other natural disaster for the last two years. And still they never stopped the aid programs or even boasted about it. That is called giving for a true cause. Not this sort of bribe.

from:  Tshering Denzongpa
Posted on: Feb 4, 2012 at 23:59 IST

FROM my personal experience brits like to laugh at indians and their
insult was too hurting when i visted uk last time and french treat us
with respect and accept us as an emerging country and all respect to
french..i salute antony ji for the right decision and for nt considering
british bribes while making his decision..

from:  ajay
Posted on: Feb 2, 2012 at 20:21 IST

I can't believe that the Britishers are making such a fuss about having
lost the contract. Even more, it's shameful that they think of the aid
money as something of a bribe. At least US is better in this regard. Not
trying to link USAID as quid pro quo. A K Antony and the Air Force need
to be lauded for this deal. As for the Daily Mail article, the sheer exaggeration of figures in it >made me laugh.

from:  S Kumar
Posted on: Feb 2, 2012 at 18:36 IST

Any kind of aircraft acquisition is the govt's prerogative and responsibility for securing the Sovereign status of this nation. As far the procurement of the aircraft is concerned the country cannot dilute its stand in face of hostilities from neighbouring countries because of some nation is granting aid in expectation of securing an arms deal with INDIA. However , the very fact that these countries are highlighting the fact that they give aid to INDIA in leiu of sealing defence deals with INDIA has diminished the stature of their country and has raised serious concerns on the motive behind their actions of gratitude.
Even the Indian Government has to act more judiciously in matters of National Security and shouldn't succumb to any kind of Foreign intervention . Sovereignty of the nation can never be compromised.

from:  prithul singh
Posted on: Feb 2, 2012 at 14:09 IST

Their making a Bribery in the form of Foreign Aid. This shouldn't be accepted by Indians policy makers.The Decision makers should stick to their needs. What we have choosen is also one of the Best.

from:  Kamal
Posted on: Feb 2, 2012 at 13:11 IST

Well, surely the military aircraft acquisition is the govt's prerogative, but if I might point out - India still receives aid from the UK? And that too, regularly and in the scale of millions? Makes me wonder - just how much of our rise is indebted to "aid" and how much is indigenous.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Feb 2, 2012 at 13:10 IST

We know that you have been disappointed and criticized our decision for finally selecting Dassault Rafale Fighter Aircarft in our mega MMRCA deal,Consider this as a any sporting event in which there are multiple teams competing for the final title,here only that team wins who performs exceedingly well in the overall competition, and the competition which you have fought with other competitors, was for MMRCA, and when it comes to the question of our nation's security, no
political pressures from the side which have lost the bid will work,
Sir we donot want to show any disregard/disrespect to the losing side,
but we would like to thank you for sportingly participating in the bid
process, we have already come very long in mmrca deal process, which
started almost 5 years ago in 2007, keeping our national security in
mind we Indians have taken the right decision in selecting Rafale,we
don't want to start the same process from scratch, by inviting fresh
bids from losing firm.

from:  Prasad Pradeep Kekre
Posted on: Feb 2, 2012 at 08:34 IST
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