Days after four-nation European consortium EADS including UK lost the bid for 126 fighter deal with India, Britain today took up the matter with authorities here insisting that its combat aircraft Eurofighter was better than the selected one — Rafale.
UK’s Minister for International Security Strategy Gerald Howarth took up the issue of India’s decision to select the French Rafale aircraft during delegation-level meeting with Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju, sources said.
The British delegation insisted that the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter offered by the EADS was the best available aircraft and better than Rafale, which has been selected by India, the sources said.
The Rafale beat the Eurofighter in terms of pricing to emerge as he lowest bidder in the multi-billion dollar contract whose actual amount is yet not known.
The development comes six days after “disappointed” British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would do “everything he can” to “encourage” India to reconsider its decision on the biggest-ever military contract announced on January 31.
Noting that the contract had not yet been awarded to the French firm, he told Parliament on February one, “Of course, I will do everything I can, as I have already, to encourage the Indians to look at Typhoon.”
“The decision is obviously disappointing,” Cameron had said, adding that Eurofighter Typhoon was “a superb aircraft, with further capability than Rafale and we will try to encourage the Indians to take that view”.
The British delegation comprising over 20 defence firms is on a five-day visit to India to meet key decision-makers and potential partners in the crucial sector.
The mission is organised by the UK’s Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) in cooperation with UK trade association Aerospace Defence Security (ADS).