MOSCOW, January 12 (Sputnik), Bijendra Singh — India is yet to make a final decision on whether it will acquire French Rafale fighter aircraft and sees the Russian-designed SU-30 multirole fighter as an alternative if the deal with France’s Dassault Aviation falls through, a source in the Indian Ministry of Defense told Sputnik on Monday.
“No doubt there are complications regarding the Rafale deal as the deal is lingering but at present no final decision has been taken by the Ministry of Defense in this regard and status quo remain the same. But in case the deal fails SU-30 may be the option,” the source said.
Several local media outlets have in recent days reported that India could pull out of the deal with France’s Dassault Aviation company on the acquisition of 126 Rafale multirole fighter aircraft and choose Russian-designed Su-30 aircraft instead.
According to former Chief of the Indian Air Force Shashindra Pal Tyagi, “there is no problem in SU-30 but it will take time.”
“Indian Air Force is left with only 34 squadrons, we badly need fighter aircrafts. So we have to do it as soon as possible, this is the reason Indian government is working on it, but the pace is slow from the French side. In case if the Rafale deal does not materializes it will require fresh rounds of tenders and biddings,” he told Sputnik.
Tyagi noted, however, that the process may be sped up by the government as new fighteraircraft are needed urgently.