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IAF's wait for combat aircraft may get longer

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Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The wait for procuring 126 combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to get longer as Defence Minister A K Antony has decided to review the process to determine the lowest bidder in the deal bagged by French Rafale after defeating European Eurofighter.

The Defence Ministry has also resumed the process of negotiating the price of the 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) with French Dassault Aviation after it was halted briefly following objections from former MP Mysura Reddy.

"The Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) has been directed to proceed to complete its deliberations and finalise its report. 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 said in a letter to Reddy.

Reddy had earlier written to Antony alleging the Defence Ministry had violated the evaluation process and arrived at an "incorrect decision" with regard to the Rafale being the lowest bidder.

"I am also given to understand that the Rafale aircraft has not been sold to any country. Why should India buy a combat aircraft that no other country has purchased?" he had written.

In his letter to Reddy, Antony said "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 Defence Procurement Procedure."

The Minister also assured Reddy that government was committed towards taking steps against corruption and if "any wrongdoing is detected at any stage, maximum stringent action would be taken."

The Defence Ministry had selected Rafale over the Eurofighter Typhoon as the lowest bidder on January 31 after a five-year-long process to procure the aircraft for the air force.


India  IAF  MMRCA  
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