The multi-billion dollar Indo-French deal for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets has once again run into trouble. The Indian Express reports that despite claims to the contrary by government
, the deal is facing legal issues and that even the preliminary agreement is not a done deal yet.
Despite the price being a bone of contention, there are other issues that have cropped up with the deal.
Many Indian officials seem to have raised questions with regard to many key clauses in the deal, which also includes their concern over France’s liability in case of any shortfall in implementation.
The deal is said to heavily favour the French, with the French govt. refusing to give any bank guarantees in case the deal goes south.
The refusal of bank guarantee remains a major issue for India, but France has instead offered to provide a “comfort letter” from its prime minister, Manuel Valls. The contract seems to involve huge pay-outs without actual delivery and the matter is huge concern for India.
In the past the practice has always been submission of adequate government/sovereign guarantees.
The news, seems to be in direct contrast to the claims that India and France made during French President François Hollande’s visit this January, when he had come to India as chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
They at that time had claimed that the jet deal was almost finalised and “only the financial aspects” were left to be sorted.