India’s largest defense deal—worth $20 billion is reportedly being scrapped.
Dassault Aviation was chosen as vendor in multi-billion dollar deal to supply 126 war planes to India three years ago. The deal was being considered a huge boost to France based company, which had been struggling to secure any deal with any international buyer for Rafale, its most advanced and powerful fighter aircraft to date.
But, India never inked the agreement in the last three years due to issues related to price and technology transfer.
During his recent visit to France, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi signed a deal to purchase 36 ready to fly units of the Rafle fighter jet.
The new deal means that the earlier commitment of purchasing 126 planes is history now.
“We will now acquire the 36 new aircraft and based on the assessment, will then take a call on future needs,” Sitanshu Kar, principal spokesperson for the defense ministry. However, Kar refused to shed any more light on the future of the deal.
India’s defense minister Manohar Parrikar has been less ambiguous about its fate. On April 13, he said that “a car cannot go on two tracks simultaneously”—which means the Indian government won’t do both deals.
It can be assumed that India will be keen to invest in PAK-FA T-50, a fifth generation fighter plane in making through partnership with Russia.