Future Rafale deals will be direct, says Parrikar

Any Rafale purchases in future, over and above the 36 announced on Friday, would be through direct negotiations with France, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday.

He said the direct announcement by the Prime Minster in France was as a result of the earlier negotiations going into a "vortex," indicating at the cancellation of the original Request for Proposal (RFP) for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

“Negotiation under the existing RFP had 'gone into a loop with no solution in sight,” Mr. Parrikar said.

“Direct route for strategic platforms”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his visit to France on Friday had announced direct purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft through a Government to Government deal as quickly as possible in view of the Critical Operational Necessities of the Air Force. The two sides will now negotiate a technical agreement with favourable terms offered by the French government.

Talking about the status of the existing RFP, Mr. Parrikar commented that “a car cannot run on two paths simultaneously.”

Setting a precedent for major defence procurements in future, Mr. Parrikar stated that Government to Government route is better than the RFP path for acquisition of strategic platforms.

MMRCA negotiations which have been ongoing since 2012 with France have been stalled due to differences in terms and pricing. This as the fighter strength of the Air Force dropped to 34 squadrons from the sanctioned 42 squadrons. The Request for Information (RFI) for the MMRCA was issued by the previous United Progressive Alliance government in 2007.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 12:21:22 PM |

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