We're square in the time window now for an announcement on the M-MRCA competition. The last ten days have been thick with rumours of a Eurofighter victory
(the company has wisely stayed away from comment). It's an incredibly delicate situation now. Last night, Reuters Aero tweeted
saying the two parties were called for a meeting, but that it was unclear if this pertained to a decision or an update. The tweet appeared to draw its essence from an earlier tweet
in the day by Newsx defence editor Vishal Thapar, who claimed that only Eurofighter representatives had been called for a meeting. He similarly wondered in his tweet if this had been for a "verdict or clarification". Now, unless this meeting was hardcore top-secret, my information is that no
representatives of either company was summoned to any meeting yesterday (Thursday, Jan 12). My sources at both vendor companies and the MoD said there was no meeting, but that it was expected "soon". But this is hardly important. Assuming that the meeting didn't in fact happen, it is
after all expected to happen at any time.
The sense I get is the government has until Republic Day (Jan 26) to declare the lowest bidder -- if it wants to, that is. After that, the country enters a phase of an elaborate series of crucial state elections that bring with them their own political sensitivities and code of conduct guidelines. The sense I get, therefore, is that if the government intends to make an announcement this month, it has to be in the next 10-odd days. Otherwise, it could drift for months as the establishment's mind gets diverted. As always, stay tuned.
Photo / Shiv Aroor