Rafale deal stuck on price: Parrikar

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Price was the only issue left to negotiate now in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday.

The minister, in an interview to Karan Thapar on India Today TV said: “Price is the problem which has to be resolved. We have resolved all other issues.”

Asked about the MoU signed during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India, the defence minister said: “It is valid and meaningful to extent that procedure has been laid.

“If I am buying something, I cannot hurry on the price, agreement also does not limit the time frame,” he said.

Asked about a time frame, the minister said it may take a “few months”, but quickly added that he did not want to put a “restriction on the timeline”.

“Price is the only issue left now,” he said, adding that an agreement on 50 percent offsets has been reached.

India signed an inter-governmental pact with France to buy 36 Rafale fighters but the price negotiations are still on. France is said to have quoted around $9 billion for the 36 jets.

The deal would includes two types of missiles and bombs, training of pilots and base facilities for the planes.

The defence minister also said he was “hurt” by the US decision to sell F-16 jets to Pakistan, a move which India has vocally opposed.

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