Boeing plans to hold a press conference tomorrow about reports that India has signed a $2.1 billion deal to buy eight P-8I maritime patrol aircraft.
Until then, here’s a snippet from one of the better articles in the Indian press this morning about the deal.
The UPA government has quietly gone ahead and signed thebiggest-ever defence deal with US: a $2.1 billion contract for eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft forNavy.
TOI had reported on December 27 that the huge deal was finally on theverge of being inked after protracted negotiations and clearance from theCabinet Committee on Security.
The actual signing took place on January 1, with defenceministry’s joint secretary and acquisitions manager (maritime systems) PreetiSudan and Boeing integrated defence systems vice-president and country headVivek Lall signing the contract, sources said.
But, strangely enough, the defence ministry is keeping thedeal under wraps. Incidentally, the previous NDA regime had also signed aflurry of mega defence deals — like the $1.5 billion one for Russian aircraftcarrier Admiral Gorshkov and $1.1 billion one for three Israeli ‘Phalcon’ AWACS(airborne warning and control systems) — in the run-up to the April-May 2004general elections.
Sources said the P-8I contract was “a direct commercialagreement with Boeing”, with “some issues of end-use verification yetto be fully sorted out” with the