New Delhi: India is making every effort to get a better deal with the France as both the nations are expected to close the purchase of 36 Rafale multi-role fighters soon.
Calling himself a tough negotiator Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said,I want the “best price” for Rafale fighter jets.
''I am a tough negotiator. Let me save money for the nation,” Parrikar told reporters when he was asked why the deal has not been signed yet.
The defence deal, which will be worth Rs 60,000 crore, was announced after the Modi-Hollande summit in Paris in April last year.
However, the minister said the budget for next fiscal takes into account the Rafale deal for which “adequate money” has been kept aside.
Stating that he was aware that the IAF needs the aircraft, the minister added “I think a good buyer does not put his weakness in front. He always keeps his cards close to his chest. Please don't ask me to disclose my cards in national interest.”
Top government sources had told PTI in January that an Inter-Governmental Agreement will be signed only once the prices have been finalised which they had hoped would take at least another four weeks.
Sources said the price for 36 Rafales, as per the tender floated by the previous UPA government, keeping the cost escalation and dollar rate in mind, comes to a little over Rs 65,000 crore. This includes the cost involved in making changes India has sought in the aircraft, including Israeli helmet mounted display and some specific weaponry, among others.
“The effort is to bring down the price to less than Euros 8 billion (Rs 59,000 crore),” the sources said, adding the actual price negotiations started from January 21.
The two countries are in negotiations for 36 Rafale fighter jets in fly-away condition since the deal was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April, 2015, during his visit to France.