India says any future Rafale jet purchases will be government-to-government

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2015 9:07 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Any future purchases of Rafale fighter jets will be through direct negotiations with the French government, India's defense minister said on Monday, calling into question an ongoing commercial negotiation with Dassault Aviation for 126 aircraft.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced a plan to buy 36 jets from Dassault through the government-to-government route.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said Modi's decision came after the commercial negotiation went into a "vortex," but stopped short of saying the government had scrapped the negotiation for a contract with Dassault, worth up to $20 billion.

"This had to be done to break the vortex," he said, adding that the preferred method was now to talk directly to the French government.

"A car cannot travel on two roads." he told reporters.

(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel)