New Delhi: French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday night raised the issue of the multi-billion dollar deal for 126 Rafale combat aircraft during talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar who said it would be "resolved in a fast-tracked manner".
India had in 2012 selected Rafale aircraft in a deal estimated to be over Rs 60,000 crore but negotiations are still continuing between the Defence Ministry and the French firm Dassault Aviation.
"The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere. All issues relating to India-French defence cooperation were discussed," an official source told PTI.
Asked if the Rafale deal was discussed during the talks at Kota House here, sources said that there are issues on which differences still exist between the two sides.
Parrikar told his French counterpart that "this would be resolved in a fast-tracked manner", they said.
The final negotiations for the deal have been stuck on a number of issues including pricing and work-sharing.
As per the RFP issued in 2007, the first 18 jets are to be imported and the rest manufactured under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
According to the sources, Dassault was reluctant to stand guarantee for the 108 fighters to be built by HAL as far as liquidity damages and timelines for production are concerned.
This, the sources said, is the critical issue that is delaying the final inking.
The Defence Ministry is of the view that the guarantee clause was part of the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQR) under the RFP that was issued.
Dassault had agreed to the ASQR and hence was chosen the winner, the sources maintained.
"How can the ASQR be relaxed? This is not allowed under the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2013," a source said.