Rafale Project On Schedule, 25 Percent Payment Made To France
- Notwithstanding the controversy, the government is moving ahead with the Rafale programme, making 25 per cent of payment to the French government in the more than Rs 59,000 crore deal for procuring 36 fighter planes, top Air Force sources said here on Thursday.
- The sources told ANI that the first aircraft would be delivered as per schedule to the Air Force by September 2019 but the planes would undergo extensive testing by Indian pilots to assess the India-specific enhancements.
- Under the deal, signed in September 2016 by the Modi government, 36 planes would be developed with Indian requirements and specifications and delivered to Air Force for meeting its emergency requirements.
- The deal was signed in Euro terms at Euro 7.9 billion, which was approximately equivalent to Rs 59,000 crore.
- “More than 25 per cent of the payments have been made to the French government for the deal as part of the contractual terms and conditions of the project. The amount of the payment is being paid to the French government as the contract is government to government,” the sources said..
- The first batch of the four aircraft with advanced avionics and sensors other than the French Rafales would be ready for delivery to India by the middle of 2020, they said.
- The Opposition Congress has been trying to create a controversy over the deal, alleging wrongdoings and favouritism in selection of offset partners.
- The governments of India and France, as also the supplier company Dassault, have been rubbishing the Congress allegations.
- The Air Force too has been defending the contract. The IAF urgently requires the Rafale fighters as it is facing shortage of combat planes.