The disclosure by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-away condition from the French government directly, sidestepping gruelling three-year negotiations for Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft(MMRCA) tender.

Narendra Modi announced purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-away condition from the French government directly, sidestepping a gruelling three-year negotiations for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft(MMRCA) tender.

While initially the tender was valued at about USD 10 billion for 126 aircraft, the current price is estimated to be over USD 20 billion, over which India had serious reservations.

Noting that negotiations had entered into a "loop" or a "vortex" with no solution in sight, Parrikar said direct negotiations with France will now decide how much more Rafale aircraft has to be bought and whether it will be under 'Make in India' programme.

The Minister refrained from giving a direct reply to questions whether the requirement of Air Force for more MMRCA will be through Rafale or if any other player can come into action.

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