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Parliament's panel says 'unhappy' over delay in Rafale deal

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  4 May 2016 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, May 3: As negotiations between India and France for the sale of 36 Rafale jet fighters are on, a parliamentary panel on Tuesday expressed its displeasure over the non-conclusion of the deal. Parliament’s standing committee for the defence ministry said in its report: “The committee are unhappy to note that although a considerable time has elapsed, negotiations with France on Rafale (fighter aircraft) could not be taken to a logical end.”

The panel is headed by Bharatiya Jata Party’s Major General B.C. Khanduri (retd). According to the report, the government told the committee that the initial deal for the sale of 126 Rafale jets could not be concluded as Dassault Aviation of France did not confirm the agreement.

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Rajya Sabha that the government will take into account the law ministry’s observations regarding the inter-governmental agreement while signing the deal.

In a written reply, Parrikar said: “The ministry of law and justice has made certain observations and the same will be adequately taken into account while filising the IGA (inter-governmental agreement), which is still under negotiation.”

According to sources, the law ministry has cautioned the government on some clauses in the draft IGA, including a clause on material breach.

The law ministry also suggested that the liability clause should be stringent. The deal for the purchase of Rafale jets in fly-away condition was inked during Prime Minister rendra Modi’s visit to France in April last year.

Both the sides also agreed to conclude the IGA for the aircraft’s supply after which a negotiating team was constituted.The negotiations have since been stuck on account of various factors, including price and offset clause. (IANS)

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