NEW DELHI: French defence supplier Dassault Aviation, whose Mirage 2000 fighters played a vital role for India during the Kargil conflict in 1999, has emerged as the lowest bidder for the $11-billion ( 55,000 crore) contract to supply 126 fighter jets to the Indian Air Force. It will now enter into exclusive price negotiations with the government and contract for the world’s second-largest open military tender is likely to be inked next fiscal. Dassault’s Rafale fighter edged out the Eurofighter Typhoon in the final round of a prolonged selection process that saw jets from American firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Russia’s MiG 35 and Swedish jet Saab Gripen getting eliminated in technical evaluation rounds. EADS, the European consortium that makes Airbus passenger jets, is a major shareholder in both Eurofighter and Dassault Aviation. While the defence ministry made no official announcement, executives of Dassault and Eurofighter have been informed of the decision, which was welcomed by French President Nicholas Sarkozy. “The negotiation of the contract will begin very soon with the full support of French authorities. It will include major transfers of technology guaranteed by the French state,” he said. The massive contract going to a French firm comes as… Read full this story
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