New Delhi: The Government of India on Thursday scrapped the Rs17,000 crore helicopter deal with European aviation consortium, Eurocopter, accusing it of " deviating from approved parameters" of the choppers urgently required for the Indian Army.
"A fresh Request for Proposals would be issued shortly" defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.
Eurocopter and US firm Bell Helicopters were short listed, and in contention, for the contract, under which the Army may purchase 60 helicopters off the shelf, while the remaining 137 would be manufactured in India under a technology transfer agreement.
The $4 billion deal was almost at the finalisation stage with defence ministry officials set to carry out price negotiations with the French company. However, the cancellation was not entirely unexpected, as enough reports had come out in the open about problems related to the contract. Incidentally, the US embassy in India had early on in the year lodged a protest with the Indian government about the way the contract had been finalised.
According to reports, this is the second major defence deal to be scrapped this year. Earlier, the Defence Ministry had cancelled international tenders for a Rs4,000 crore deal to purchase 400 upgraded 155 mm .52 calibre guns for the Army.