No final decision yet on Rafale aircraft deal: Govt

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| Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 16:25
First Published |
Rafale aircraft

New Delhi: Negotiation is taking place for procurement of medium multi-role combat aircraft from Dassault Aviation France but "no final decision" has been taken, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also said review of existing fleet and induction of new aircraft is a continuous process and such a review is carried out keeping in view the operational requirements of the Air Force.

On whether fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) are in place for the Indian Air Force to have superior air strike capabilities, he replied in a negative.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had last month held talks here with Parrikar to salvage the multi-billion Rafale contract even as a deadlock continues to hold up the deal.

As the two ministers met, the Cost Negotiating Committee (CNC) is understood to have submitted its report to the Ministry of Defence.

Le Drian met with Parrikar during which the French Minister took up the issue of the Rafale fighters manufactured by Dassault Aviation.

India had selected Rafale for the deal in 2012 but the final contract is yet to be signed. While 18 jets are to be bought off the shelf, 108 are supposed to be manufactured here by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The main issue concerns the pricing, which is basically the production cost in India, and Dassault's reluctance to stand guarantee for the 108 fighters to be built by state-run HAL.

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