01:16 GMT25 February 2020
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    The Russian-made Igla-S Air Defence System was recently declared the lowest bidder for the Indian Army’s Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORADS) program, beating Saab’s RBS 70NG and MBDA’s Mistral. Responding to the defeat, Saab alleged that the Igla-S does not meet the performance requirements outlined in the original tender document.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India has refuted allegations of favouritism in its decision to procure air defence systems from Russian military exporter Rosboronexport for its VSHORADS program, dismissing the accusations as "baseless." Subhash Bhamre, India's Minister of State for Defence, said that the appropriate replies have been given to complainants. 

    READ MORE: India, Russia to Finalize Logistic Support Agreement Soon

    "After the opening of commercial bids and declaration of L-1 vendor, complaints were received from the other two competing vendors, namely, MBDA of France and Saab of Sweden. The complaints were processed as per extant guidelines and appropriate replies were given to the vendors," Minister Subhash Bhamre said, responding to a parliamentarian's query.  

    The minister said that the decision-making process for the procurement of defence systems and armaments is executed with the highest degree of probity, public accountability, impartiality and transparency. 

    The bid amount submitted by Rosoboronexport for supplying Igla-S systems was found to be well below the "benchmark price" of $2 billion, while Saab had bid $2.6 billion, and French firm MBDA quoted $3.7 billion, for their respective systems, the minister added.

    READ MORE: Saab Mulls Legal Recourse Against Indo-Russian Deal on Air Defense System

    The tender for the procurement of 5185 missiles and associated equipment under the Indian Army's VSHORAD program was floated in 2010. Last month, Russia's Rosoboronexport emerged as the winner of the tender, trumping MBDA and Saab, who responded by alleging that the Russian system did not fulfil the performance requirements put out in the Indian Army's tender document.

    The procurement process is currently at the contract negotiation stage.


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