From:India Dassault Jet Deal Still Months from Completion
Wall Street Journal , March 29
NEW DELHI – The Indian government Thursday announced what appears to be a likely delay in the closing of an estimated $12 billion deal to buy 126 fighter jets from France's Dassault Aviation SA.
The price negotiations alone could take about eight more months, and there would be "several other stages of scrutiny" before the deal to buy Dassault's Rafale is finalized, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said Thursday.
His statement comes two months after the Indian government on Jan. 31 declared Dassault as the lowest bidder for one of the world's largest-ever military aircraft contracts.
Just a day later, on Feb. 1, the French government said it hoped to seal the deal within six to nine months. But Mr. Antony Thursday said that the government is going slow on deals to modernize India's defense forces, as it wants to eliminate any chances of kickbacks or bribes.
"We have zero tolerance on corruption," he told reporters at a defense exhibition being held in New Delhi.
The March 29-April 1 exhibition has drawn participants from several countries--including France, the U.S., Russia and Singapore--to India, the world's largest importer of defense products.
Separately, junior defense minister M.M. Pallam Raju said critical issues such as where the jet will be assembled in India and transfer of technology from Dassault are still being discussed.
For the "record":