A deal with France to procure 36 Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force has run into questions from the law ministry despite New Delhi and Paris committing to an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) on the sale.
“The Ministry of Law & Justice has made certain observations and the same will be taken into account while finalising the Inter-Governmental Agreement [IGA], which is still under negotiation,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. However he did not elaborate on the observations reports The Telegraph.
India and France issued a joint statement on the deal in January this year during the visit of President Francois Hollande to New Delhi. The deal was announced during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Paris in April last year.
Although the negotiations have been on since May 2015, the two sides have not yet agreed on a price for the aircraft. The standing committee on defence, in its 20th report to Parliament today, also said it was “unhappy to note that though considerable time has elapsed, negotiations with France on ‘Rafale’ could not be taken to a logical end”.
The government on Tuesday said the Law Ministry raised some objections on the direct purchase of 36 Rafale fighters from France, even as the Defence Standing Committee, chaired by senior BJP MP Maj. Gen. B.C. Khanduri (retd.), said it was “distressed” by the delay in concluding the deal.