India Fighter Contract, Gunjan Bagla quoted in the Financial Times and Aviation Week

India Fighter Contract, Gunjan Bagla quoted in the Financial Times and Aviation Week

The Financial Times of London carried a full length feature story (February 6 and 7) on how the Eurofighter Typhoon lost the bid to the French-made Rafale in a contest that has lasted over five years and will cost between $10 billion and $20 billion over the life of the project.  I am quoted in the story as well as in a similar story that appeared in Aviation Week.   FT requires registration for you to view the entire story, entitled “A Dogfight Over Delhi”. The story was also repeated in the Toronto Globe & Mail, click here to read it

…They overlooked Indian misgivings about security of supply for an aircraft built by four countries across a continent in financial turmoil and amid worries about the aircraft’s radar capabilities. “The upside is that Eurofighter delivers you four countries as strategic partners,” says Douglas Barrie of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, but “the down side is they have to negotiate with each other before they negotiate with you”.

. . .

They also underestimated the government-to-government nature of India’s arms dealings; its deep-seated fears over its energy vulnerabilities; and its hunt for a bargain. “Patience is a key aspect of doing business in India, as is price,” says Gunjan Bagla of California-based Amritt Inc, an advisory service. “The Indian approach is that so long as a product meets the minimum threshold of performance, then it seeks the best value for money. This should come as no surprise.”

About the same time Aviation Week carried a headline on its website on February 6, “Patient Dassault Set To Win MMRCA” on the same subject (and printed it on Page 46 as Viva Le MMRCA” I was quoted as below in this story.

But while it is up for debate whether India would have gained more strategically if it chose U.S. fighters, for instance, a Rafale deal at the least consolidates an old and important relationship. “The decision will definitely strengthen France’s relations with India,” says Ajey Lele, who works with the New Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses.

“It would be wise for American OEMs to tone down their typical pitch of technological superiority, which the Indian buyers are already aware of and respect,” says Gunjan Bagla, head of defense and aerospace at California-based management advisory company Amritt. “Hammering it further can be perceived in India as ‘American arrogance’ and does not help to win sales. India’s ministry of defense is not always dazzled with the ‘best’ technology; rather, it wants to specify a certain minimum threshold of performance. Exceeding the technical minimum does not confer advantage.”


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