Rafale deal may be closed soon: Parrikar

New Delhi, April 21  The Rafale deal with France is in advanced stage and the government intends to close it quite soon, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday.

Asked if a final agreement had been reached on the price for buying 36 Rafale jets, the minister said: “I can only tell the deal is in an quite advanced stage.

“We intend to close it quite soon. But we can’t say negotiations are over until we sign it (agreement) or it is cleared by the cabinet,” Parrikar told reporters at the sidelines of the Naval Commanders’ Conference.

The minister was asked about a post made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on its Facebook page and Twitter handle saying the deal had been finalised at $8.8 billion.

An image posted on the BJP Facebook page said the Narendra Modi government “saved $3.2 billion (Rs.21,000 crore) out of the $12 billion (Rs.80,000 crore) deal”.

In 2012, India decided to ink a deal for 126 Rafale jets.

As the deal could not work out, another deal for purchasing 36 Rafale combat jets in fly-away condition was inked during the prime minister’s visit to France in April last year.