Germany "nastily surprised" over non-conclusion of defence deal, alleges political grounds

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New Delhi, Jan 29(ANI): On the eve of German President Horst Kohler's India visit, which begins on February 1, Germany has expressed deep disappointment over rejection by India of the contract for the purchase of Airbus A-330 MRTT (multi-role tanker transport) aircraft.

According to German Ambassador to India Thomas Matussek, the contract for Airbus A-330 MRTT aircraft, which was initially approved by the Indian Air force, was rejected for what he alleged ' political reasons'.

Addressing the media in the national capital, Matussek said that the cancellation of tender for the multi-role tanker aircraft for the Indian Air Force for which European consortium EADS was a contender came as a "rude surprise".

"It is little bit of a nasty surprise for us and very disappointing that this choice of Indian Air force, which works on the principle of the best value for money was rejected at political level," Matussek said.

"This rejection was not even explained to us," he added.

Matussek further criticized those involved in the selection, and said: "It appears quality, performance, state of technology and reliability were not exactly the criteria, but selection was only on label price stance."

Earlier in the month, Government of India had turned down a bid made by the Indian Air Force to purchase six new Airbus-330 MRTT refueling aircraft worth 1.5 billion dollars with European aerospace major EADS on the basis of Union Finance Ministry's objection.

Finance Ministry believed that the A-330 MRTT was too costly compared to the Russian IL-78 refuellers.

Germany is also bidding hard for the multi- medium- role combat aircraft and is offering its state of the art Firefighter Typhoon with low life cycle cost and also offering euro jet engines for the euro fighters, which Germany believes would enhance performance of Indian manufactured Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

Germany is also ready to alter its end user agreement and exempt India from the monitoring and on location inspection for future deals.

As of now no agreements or MOU's will be signed during the seven-day visit of the German President even though number of agreements between India and Germany are awaiting nod from the Indian side.

It is believed that MOU on cooperation in security sector, anti- terror measures and training, economy and technology are awaiting clearance either from the Cabinet or from the Ministry of External Affairs.

According to the German envoy, none of the MoU s and agreements will be signed during the visit. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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