In an address to a question raised by an MLA about the selection process of Rafale fighter planes, the Indian government said it is seeking to secure 126 French Rafale combat aircrafts by the end of this financial year.
According to the Press Trust of India, the government will soon resume the contract negotiation of the multi-billion dollar deal. Defense Minister A K Antony has ordered the examination of Rafale procurement process following the former MP Mysura Reddy's blame over the selection process.
The defense minister had earlier written a letter to Reddy stating the order given to Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) to continue with the negotiations. "The issues raised by you were examined by Independent monitors who have concluded that the approach and methodology adopted by the CNC in the evaluation of the commercial proposals thus far has been reasonable and appropriate and within terms of the Request for Proposal and Defense Procurement Procedure." Antony said in the letter.
He also promised Reddy that before taking any further steps the Defense Ministry would re-examine the entire process to ensure the reasonableness and fairness of the deal.
"Before any further action is taken, the entire issue of approach and methodology adopted by the CNC to determine the L-1 vendor as well as your letter and other references received in this regard will be re-examined by the Defence Ministry to ascertain that the entire procurement process is reasonable, appropriate and as per the laid down procedure," Antony had said.
The Indian Defense Ministry and Dassault, a French company, got into a $10.4 billion deal early February for the supply of 126 Rafale twin-jet combat aircrafts. As per the deal Indian law required the company to manufacture 18 aircrafts first before it gets into a partnership with any Indian local company.