Reactions To Selection
The decision was welcomed in France with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Minister of State for Foreign Trade Pierre Lellouche, and Dassault Aviation all issuing statements in support of the decision. Dassault Aviation shares soared more than 21 percent on the Paris Stock Exchange immediately after the news broke. Nicolas Sarkozy said the selection of Dassault's Rafale multi-role fighter "goes far beyond the company that makes them, far beyond aerospace -- it is a vote of confidence in the entire French economy." The office of the French President issued a statement:
The President of the French Republic has learned of India’s selection of the Rafale for the acquisition by the Indian Air Force of 126 fighter aircraft. France is pleased with the Indian government’s decision to select the French aircraft to enter into exclusive negotiations with Dassault. This announcement comes at the end of a very high-level, fair and transparent competition involving two European finalists.
The Rafale has been selected thanks to the aircraft’s competitive life-cycle costs, after the April 2011 pre-selection on the basis of its top-level operational performance. The negotiation of the contract will begin very soon and has the full support of the French authorities. It will include important technology transfers guaranteed by the French government.
The realization of the Rafale project will illustrate the depth and scale of the strategic partnership between France and India.
Dassault Aviation also released a statement claiming that following the announcement of the final selection of the Rafale in the frame of the MMRCA program, Dassault Aviation and its partners are honored and grateful to the Indian Government and the people of India to be given the opportunity to extend their long-lasting cooperation. Dassault Aviation also stated that they reiterate their commitment to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force and underline their pride in contributing to India’s defence for over half a century. The French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Pierre Lellouche called the selection as a positive sign for the struggling French economy but he later cautioned that a number of things remained to be finalized: "I confirm that we are in a very positive phase for the Rafale in India...At this stage we have to remain prudent; we are in a phase of exclusive negotiations. We have won the contract but there a number of things to finalize so let's be cautious for now". He also stated that he hoped that the order will finally open up real perspectives for the Rafale programme and referring to the lobbying done by the American, Russian and British governments, added that the political pressure applied by the competitors did not make things very easy.
Eurofighter issued a statement saying that although they are disappointed, they respect the decision: "India took the decision to select our competitor as the preferred bidder in the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender. Although this is not yet a contract signature and contract negotiations are still ahead, we are disappointed. However, we respect the decision of the Indian MoD. With the Eurofighter Typhoon, we offered the Indian Air Force the most modern combat aircraft available. Based on the Indian Government feedback, we will now carefully analyze and evaluate this situation together with our European Partner Companies and their respective Governments." Officials at the British High Commission in Delhi also said they were disappointed with the decision but added that it was expressly said this was about the cost of the contract, not a reflection on the health of bilateral relations between India and the countries.
After the announcement of Dassault Rafale as the L1 bidder, the Eurofighter Consortium also decided to lower the price of the Typhoon jets to stay in the race. This decision came after extensive discussion amongst the member nations. However, the Indian MoD officials ruled out any possibility of a comeback by the Eurofighter Typhoon in the competition. According to them, Dassault Rafale beat the Typhoon by a huge margin in terms of life cycle costs as well as direct acquisition costs. In March 2012 UK defense minister Gerald Howarth told the British House of Commons that the Eurofighter Consortium respects the Indian government's decision but stands ready to enter further negotiations if possible.
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