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India unlikely to seal fighter jet deal with Dassault before May polls: Minister

Published on Feb 6, 2014 4:12 PM
 
A worker checks a Rafale jet fighter as he works on the assembly line in the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux, southwestern France, on Jan 10, 2014. India's defence minister on Thursday ruled out any prospect of a deal to buy fighter jets from France's Dassault Aviation before national elections - expected by May - due to budgetary constraints. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's defence minister on Thursday ruled out any prospect of a deal to buy fighter jets from France's Dassault Aviation before national elections - expected by May - due to budgetary constraints.

The announcement eliminates any chance of the current government concluding its biggest defence procurement project and means the French firm faces new uncertainty in its most promising export market.

"Because of shortage of money don't expect this (financial) year any final decision or agreement," Defence Minister A.K. Antony told reporters in New Delhi at a news conference.

The financial year runs until the end of March, but elections are then expected shortly afterwards when the ruling Congress party is expected to be voted out of power.

 
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