Deal to procure Rafale planes highest priority: Air Chief Browne
The French machine was shortlisted for exclusive negotiations over a year ago after a hotly contested bidding war with rival manufacturers, but is still to finalise the $10.4 bn deal. France's Dassault Aviation hopes to conclude its $12-billion deal to sell Rafale jets to India this year, with negotiations set to be taken up by President Francois Hollande next week.
The deal will have to pass through "six or seven layers" of vetting before being presented to the finance ministry and the cabinet committee on security.
The French group has also formed a joint venture with the Indian conglomerate Reliance, which has no former military production experience but will be involved as a supplier.
Said the air chief in response to a question that, “The contract between Dassault and Reliance does not bother us, as per the RfP production has to be carried out in India jointly with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.”
In response to a question, Browne, who earlier in the week had called for imposing financial penalties on laggard design and production centres said, “World over when you slip in the production time there are big penalties. These need to be introduced here in India. We need to increase the liabilities.”
“We need to execute financial penalties in case of poor performance of work centres by withholding
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