Thu, 7 Apr 2016-07:45am , New Delhi , dna
US defence secretary Ashton Carter will be in India from April 10-12 and is to meet India’s defence minister Manohar Parrikar on April 12.
Carter’s visit coincides with the ongoing negotiations between India and France for over Rs 60,000 crore Rafale fighter jets deal for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The negotiations over price has failed to conclude two months after India and France signed an “inter-governmental agreement” on the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Rafale purchase during French president Francois Hollande’s visit to India in January. Meanwhile, with more complexities remain to be worked out on Rafale like the liability clauses that could bring not just the aircraft manufacturing firm Dassault aviation but the French government too, under the fold of accountability, two US firms, Boeing and Lockheed Martin have raised their pitch to manufacture fighters for IAF.
Sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that both the firms, earlier this week made elaborate presentations before the Indian officials. US department of defence headquarter Pentagon’s Director for International Cooperation Keith Webster too is in India. And one senior official privy to the US pitch on fighter jets said that Webster too was present at the time the two US firms were meeting the MoD officials. The Indian government has been non-committal on a fixed time frame for buying the Rafale jets.
Whereas, according to a Parliament question reply in March, the government declared that it had signed Rs 36,944.48 crore worth defence contracts in past six months, Rafale is nowhere in sight yet. Giving further credence to the fact that India May be considering other options than Rafale, IAF vice chief BS Dhanoa, on March 10, too had said that more MMRCA than just 36 Rafale jets will be needed and “other firms Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the Swedish firm Saab” have shared their proposals to the MoD .
Dhanoa admitted that the current strength of only 33 fighter squadrons in IAF, instead of the desired 42 was a concern and India was “not ready for a two front war” , namely with Pakistan and China together.
“Giving further credence to the fact that India May be considering other options than Rafale, IAF vice chief BS Dhanoa, on March 10, too had said that more MMRCA than just 36 Rafale jets will be needed and “other firms Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the Swedish firm Saab” have shared their proposals to the MoD .”
Looking good for the US seems the Rafale deal is dead as mentioned 36 plane won’t be enough India would need around 200 planes and it is definitely not Rafale because that would cost India (at current price of 12 billion Euro for 36 planes ($13.6 billion)) over $70 billion $360 per plane! It would cost more than the PAK FA T-50 which India will be paying $236 million per plane! Most likely to be the US F-18E/F in my opinion! – Nonothai.
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