Have sought report on Rafale negotiations: Parrikar (With: Logistics agreement with US will help India: Parrikar)

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New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has sought a report from the committee negotiating the price for the Rafale fighter jets as India looks at concluding the deal in a couple of months.

In an interview to IANS, the minister also said that concluding the deal by June-July will mean the first of two Rafale squadrons will be in place in two to three year’s time. Asked about the concessions sought by France on bank guarantees, the minister said any decision taken will be “within the legal framework”.

“Whatever happens will be within legal framework, governmental framework, and according to what has been done in past,” he said.

As per reports, Fence has rejected Indian request for a sovereign guarantee or bank guarantee for the deal, and instead offered to provide a “comfort letter” from the prime minister.

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“At this stage, I do not want to interfere into or influence the committee that is discussing (the deal). I have told them they should discuss it and put up a report on this… what is the conclusion of the discussions,” he said.

“If the Rafale deal concludes by June-July we will have a squadron of Rafale in two-three year’s time,” the minister said.

He said that deal is in its final stage.

The deal for purchasing 36 Rafale combat jets in fly-away condition was inked during the prime minister’s visit to France last April.

A negotiating team was constituted to decide on the deal and is holding talks with the French side.

The deal comes with a clause for delivering 50 percent offsets, expected to generate business worth at least three billion euros for Indian companies.

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