India’s multi-billion dollar project to get hold of 126 Rafale fighter jets for its Navy and Air Force is struggling due to the contract, which is yet to be finalized with France. Both countries are still in the negotiation stage, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar informed Lok Sabha.
“Rafael deal is not through or final. If it is at all finalised in future, it will take time. I would not like to comment on it as it is still in the negotiation stage,” he said during question hour.
The deal for the acqusiotion of 126 jets is estimated to cost over USD 20 billion over the 10 years. It is being considered as one of the biggest global defence tender. The Indian Defence Minister said the Defence Acquisition Council has recently cleared 44 projects worth Rs 1,34,000 crore and all of them were critical for the armed forces.
“We are trying to fast track our defence acquisition process. One example is bullet-proof jacket. We have already ordered 50,000 bullet proof jacket and 50,000 more are expected to be ordered shortly,” he said.
Parrikar said his Ministry was ensuring that all three wings of the armed forces coordinate with each other for inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness, so that duplication is avoided while acquiring defence products.
Parrikar said unsafe and outdated equipment were not utilised by defence forces. Ageing of equipment is a natural process and is dealt with through proper maintenance, obsolescence management, upgrades and acquisition of new equipment.
The Defence Acquisition Council has decided for procurement of light helicopters under the ‘buy and make’ category. Five cases of procurement of small arms are at different stages of the procurement cycle, he said.
Ref: The Economic Times