NEW DELHI --- The Rafale deal clinched by the Modi government is better in terms of “pricing, delivery and maintenance” than the contract UPA was negotiating and which floundered due to the French company and HAL failing to agree on costs, the government is understood to have told Supreme Court.
Details of the decision-making process state that Rafale’s maker Dassault Aviation and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited could not resolve differences over man hours — and therefore costs — for production under licence of 108 of 126 fighters. The HAL estimate of man hours exceeded Dassault’s by 2.7 times and proved a deal-breaker that sent it into a limbo for three years till the 2014 elections.
The government has said that efforts to revive negotiations under the terms that were being discussed proved a non-starter and a decision was taken to recast the deal keeping in mind the depletion of India’s fighter fleet as adversaries added aircraft, missile systems and radars to their war-fighting capacities.
The decision to opt for an inter-government agreement was intended to address an emergency requirement of 36 fighters and also deepen the strategic commitment between India and France. The IGA route offered better protection from uncertainties like sanctions or other disruptions in supplies. It also meant a stronger engagement of the contracting nation in India’s defence needs. (end of excerpt)
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