Apr 18, 2015

India's Plans Unclear After Rafale Decision

Following India's sudden decision to buy 36 Rafales from France straight off the production line last week, the next steps in New Delhi's plan to eventually outfit its Air Force with 126 of the Dassault jets remain unclear.
36 jets will be purchased through a government-to-government deal. Since India made Dassault the preferred bidder for the $12 billion program in 2012, the plan had been to purchase 18 jets and build the remaining 108 in India through a license.
Indian Defence Ministry sources said the deal was struck by the Prime Minister's Office and therefore no details are available. MoD spokesman Sitanshu Kar refused to comment on how the rest of the deal will play out.
MoD sources say they learned of the direct purchase of the 36 Rafales when Modi made the announcement at the April 10 press conference.
French Defense will probably go to India in the next few weeks to negotiate the deal.
The French authorities and Dassault are staying silent on the details of the deal, which caught all by surprise.
Pending a formal announcement of the cancellation of the ongoing request for proposals , speculation abounds on what will happen to this big-ticket purchase program, dubbed the "mother of all deals."
Analysts say India will order more Rafales over the proposed 36.
With the future of the project unclear and the increased direct purchases of the Rafale, possibilities have emerged on how the Indian Air Force will buy the remaining 90 fighters. There is no clarity on what happens next.
Analysts say the Russians could receive increased orders for SU-30MKI aircraft.

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