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.
"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 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.
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.