New Delhi: The mega multi-billion dollar proposed deal for acquisition of 126 French Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft seems to have hit a roadblock, with the French firm Dassault allegedly reneging on certain provisions of the request for proposal linked to providing guarantees and accountability, top Indian government defence sources said, adding that India would “strengthen its Sukhoi squadrons” to prepare for a scenario wherein the MMRCA negotiations collapse.
Meanwhile, defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday indicated that the Centre can, upto a “reasonable extent”, lift the ban on blacklisted firms if the equipment they supply is very crucial to the armed forces.
But the Minister made it clear that “success fees will not be allowed”. Success fees refers to a practice wherein the payment is related to the order being bagged and also the size of the order.
The minister referred to a recent directive wherein the Centre had permitted acquisition of spares for the Army’s Tatra trucks from the original equipment manufacturer but not from the ‘Tatra-UK’ company from which acquisitions had been stopped following allegations of irregularities earlier related to procurement of Tatra trucks. The ban on acquisitions from Tatra-UK will continue.
He also said that the Centre has ordered the Army to retaliate “with double the energy” if fired upon by Pakistan. The Centre has ordered an emergency acquisition of 50,000 bullet-proof vests for troops.
A report of Standing Committee on Defence had said that lack of bullet-proof vests had jeopardised the lives of thousands of soldiers....