74 INT meetings took place before inking Rafale deal, Centre tells SC

74 INT meetings took place before inking Rafale deal Centre tells SCNEW DELHI: The Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday that as many as 74 meetings of the Indian Negotiating Team (INT) took place, including 26 with the French side, from May 2015 to April 2016 on the Rafale deal.

INT was constituted to negotiate the terms and conditions of the procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft.

The INT was headed by the Deputy Chief of Air Staff (DCAS) of IAF and comprised of the Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Air); Joint Secretary (Defence Offset Management Wing); Joint Secretary & Additional Financial Advisor; Finance Manager (Air); Advisor (Cost) and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans) as members from Indian Government side.

The French side was headed by the Director General of Armament (DGA), Ministry of Defense, Government of France, it said.

“Negotiations between INT and the French side started in May 2015 and continued up to April 2016. A total of 74 meetings, which included 48 internal INT meetings and 26 external INT meetings with French side were held during the negotiations.

“As mandated by the Defence Acquisition Council, the INT undertook a collegiate process involving due deliberations and diligence at various levels during the negotiations. Aspects pertaining to the responsibility and obligations of French Government, pricing, delivery schedule, maintenance terms, offsets, IGA terms, etc. were discussed and negotiated during these meetings,” the Centre told the top court.

India signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of the Indian Air Force equipment. The estimated cost of the deal is Rs 58,000 crore. PTI