With Rafale deal stuck, Germany says Eurofighter option ready

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New Delhi, Apr 8: Days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit there, Germany on Wednesday said European military consortium EADS was still ready to provide India Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, asserting that the jets are "good" both in terms of quality and price.

India has been in negotiations for last three years with France's Dassault Aviation for procurement of 126 Rafale jets, which is being considered world's biggest military aircraft deal.

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German Ambassador Michael Steiner said the European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) was ready with its proposal to offer Eurofighter to India.

"The consortium stands ready with their proposal. The governments of the four nations are supporting this proposal because they are convinced it is a good one both in terms of quality of the product and price," he told reporters.

At the same time, he said the consortium will continue to respect the Indian procurement procedures and it was for India to decide what kind of aircraft it wants to procure.

Prime Minister Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will jointly inaugurate the Hannover Messe fair on April 12. India is the partner country for the famous fair this year.

Rafale was selected by India from among five bidders in 2012 since it was the lowest bidder.

The Rafale and European Eurofighter Typhoon were the only two defence majors left in the race for 126 plane-deal after years of tests on technical and other aspects.

Modi is also visiting France but it is not clear whether the Rafale deal would figure during his talks with French President Francois Hollande.

The deal with Dassault Aviation has been stuck for the last three years on cost and gurantee clause. Indian government officials say that while the deal was initially for about Rs 42,000 crore, French are seeking a higher price now.

Under the guarantee clause Rafale has to provide guarantee for the planes that would be manufactured by state-owned HAL.

PTI

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