NICHOLAS IONIDES / BANGALORE
Manufacturer waiting for decision but insists no new concessions have been made
BAE Systems is rejecting suggestions that it has made new concessions to the Indian government in its effort to sell 66 Hawk advanced trainers to the country.
Local media reports say BAE is finally close to clinching the deal and it is being widely speculated in India that new, primarily pricing, concessions have been made.
However, BAE chairman Sir Richard Evans says that no new concessions have been made. He says that BAE last responded to Indian requests for information on the Hawk around 18 months ago.
"We've not been asked to make any [concessions]," Evans says. "We have submitted a proposal."
BAE has been seeking a Hawk sale with India to meet the country's Advanced Jet Trainer requirement for nearly two decades. In recent years pricing has been blamed for delays to a final agreement. At the last Aero India show, held in 2001, Indian defence minister George Fernandes said that price was "the only issue" outstanding.
At last week's show Fernandes refused to be drawn on whether more negotiations were needed or if other aircraft were in the frame. However, he added to growing speculation that a deal is finally near by saying "the government is on the threshold of coming to a decision on this. It is now at the stage where a decision has to be taken," he added.
Source: Flight International