Last week I did an TV interview for BBC North West on the Indian enquiry into irregularities in the process which led the Indian Government to choose the Rafaale rather than the Eurofighter Typhoon which supports tens of thousands of North West jobs.
An Indian MP has called for enquiry which the Defence Minister has accepted. I do not think this a great news as sources from India indicate this will only delay the process not reopen the tendering process.
I asked the minister on the floor of the House of Commons.
Graham Jones (Hyndburn, Labour)
May I associate my views with those of other hon. Members regarding the loss of life in Afghanistan?
Last week, the Indian Ministry of Defence ordered an internal review into the procurement process that led to the French Rafale aircraft receiving preferred bidder status despite the fact that it was apparently out-performed by the Eurofighter in tests as well as in operations in Libya? What discussions has the Minister held with his Indian counterparts to seek reassurances that Britain’s defence export industry is not losing out because of unfair and uncompetitive practices.
Gerald Howarth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (International Security Strategy), Defence; Aldershot, Conservative)
The hon. Gentleman takes a close interest in these matters and took part in the Westminster Hall debate introduced by my hon. Friend Mark Menzies on 7 March, so I understand where he is coming from. I can assure him that I take these matters very seriously. I have read the reports about the internal investigation that Minister Antony, the Defence Minister in India, has instigated. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that I shall be flying to India tomorrow, where I hope to have discussions with Indian Ministers and other officials.