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Author Topic: France admits Indian helicopter deal off and says will re-bid  (Read 5245 times)

Offline tigershark

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France admits Indian helicopter deal off and says will re-bid
« on: December 23, 2007, 03:03:09 AM »
France admits Indian helicopter deal off and says will re-bid

1 day ago

NEW DELHI (AFP) — France's foreign minister admitted that a deal for European aerospace giant EADS' unit Eurocopter to supply 197 helicopters to the Indian army had been officially cancelled.   Bernard Kouchner said he was "not satisfied" with the collapse of the 600 million dollar deal, but asserted Eurocopter would re-bid once India floats fresh global tenders.   The Indian defence ministry said on December 6 that Eurocopter's successful tender for the helicopters had been scrapped, although the firm and the French embassy here contested the validity of that announcement.   The ministry has not said publicly why the deal was pulled, but senior defence sources have alleged that Eurocopter used a local go-between despite an Indian ban on the use of middlemen in defence deals.   Eurocopter, part of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), was also accused of presenting a civilian helicopter instead of a military version for statutory field trials by the Indian army.    "I am not satisfied, but we have been told by the Indian government that the bidding process has to be launched again because of procedural details," Kouchner told reporters.    Indian media have reported that Paris had protested at the cancellation but the minister said EADS will remain in the race for the contract.    "Yes, we can complain but it is useless to complain ... So we have to participate in the new bidding process," Kouchner said.    "This is not the end of the story ... we will win the new bidding process." The issue figured during Kouchner's overnight meeting with his counterpart Pranab Mukherjee.   "They reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations including the growing ties in the defence sector and during their talks this issue (cancelled deal) also came up," said a foreign ministry official, asking not to be named.   Press reports have also claimed the Indian defence establishment came under pressure from Bell, which is trying to sell its LongRanger helicopters to the Indian army.    The final signing of the deal was also supposed to be one of the highlights of a visit to India next month by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.    Eurocopter had been contracted to sell 60 complete Fennec helicopters to India, while the remaining 137 were to be assembled at state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in India.   Another high-profile arms deal involving France also came under the scanner during Kouchner's two-day visit.
On Tuesday an Indian court on Thursday ordered police to complete a probe into charges that a bribe was paid in a 2.4 billion euro (three billion dollar) deal to buy Franco-Spanish Scorpene submarines.    The order came after an Indian pressure group -- the Centre for Public Interest Litigation -- alleged New Delhi was shielding Indian middlemen who took commissions from French defence giant Thales.   Thales and the Paris government denied the allegations. Kouchner did not comment on the issue.

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* I would have thought India changed there minds at the last minute and demanded more helicopters for less money.  And the French would have to jump and spin around three times while holding there left foot.   


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