Millennium Post

Most hitches in Rafale deal addressed: MoS Defence

India and France have resolved most of the ‘hitches’ in the multi-billion Euro Rafale deal and the remaining issues will be cleared in the next DAC meet, scheduled to be held on Thursday, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said on Tuesday.

He also defended the cost of the aircraft when a reporter questioned the estimated Rs 65,000 crore deal at a time when some people in the country were eating “rotis made of grass”, saying without the nation being secure, even that would not be possible.

The meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the apex body of the Defence Ministry for procurement, is likely to take place on April 21, a day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar arrives here from his visit to China.

Hoping that the Rafale deal would be inked soon, Indian Air Force Chief Arup Raha said, “It is at a very advanced stage.” “I can only tell you this that most of the hitches that were there, have been addressed. A few (remaining) issues will be addressed, when possibly the matter comes up before DAC.They shall be addressed in the next DAC. And thereafter I think the road shall be clear," Singh told reporters here.

He was asked as to when the deal is likely to be signed.

When the same question was put to Air Chief Marshal Raha on the sidelines of an IAF seminar, he said, "We have seen so many years go past. How can I give an assurance? But it is in a very advanced stage.” 
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