Sixty-five years after quitting India, Britain is still seeking markets though under very different terms. British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is in India on a three-day trip, is likely to push for the Eurofighter Typhoon deal, which involves 126 jets worth over $15 billion.
Cameron’s visit comes amidst the helicopter purchase scandal involving AgustaWestland, for which the Government has requested London’s help.
A show-cause notice has been issued by the Government to AgustaWestland, the UK subsidiary of Italy’s Finmeccanica, which is at the centre of an alleged bribery scandal.
Less than a week after French President Francois Hollande left India without any announcement over the fate of the $10.4-billion contract for Rafale fighter jets, Cameron is to try to revive a lucrative bid to sell the Eurofighter to India, sources in the know told Business Line.
“The Eurofighter Typhoon is a Defence order for around $15 billion, and France is the main competitor. Last year, India had zeroed in on the French Rafale, nudging out the Eurofighter,” sources said, requesting anonymity.
French firm Dassault Aviation had emerged the lowest bidder to supply the Rafale jet fighters. There was a hot contest among Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Saab, Dassault and EADS’ (Eurofighter) to sell their jet fighters to India.
With New Delhi set to raise the issue of the AgustaWestland choppers with Britain, the Cameron visit could not have been more timely for India.