India had signed an inter-governmental pact with France to buy 36 Rafale fighters but the price negotiations are still on. The deal is estimated to be around $9billion for the 36 jets. The deal includes two types of missiles and bombs, training of pilots and base facilities for the planes. India is negotiating for a price of $6.85 billion.
The much publicised Rafale deal between India and France has hit a roadblock with the negotiations on price still to be resolved. India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that price was the only issue that was left to negotiate now in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France. Mr Parrikar said: “Price is the problem which has to be resolved. We have resolved all other issues.”
President Francois Hollande had visited India in January. When asked about the MoU signed during Mr Hollande’s visit, Mr Parrikar said: “It is valid and meaningful to the extent that procedure has been laid. If I am buying something, I cannot hurry on the price. Agreement also does not limit the time frame.”
Speaking about the time frame, Mr Parrikar said that it may take a “few months”. However, he added that he did not want to put a “restriction on the timeline”. “Price is the only issue left now,” he added. He also said that an agreement on the offset on the 50 per cent of the deal had been reached.
Speaking separately on the issue of the US sale of F-16s to Pakistan, Mr Parrikar said he was “hurt” by the US decision to sell F-16 jets to Pakistan. India has opposed the US decision strongly.
In the light of Pakistan acquiring F-16, India feels the need to upgrade its fighter plane facility. However, financial as well as military pros and cons must be weighed before concluding the deal.
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