A newly-formed Europe India Chamber of Commerce has said that "factors other than commercial" have influenced India's decision to go in for 50-aircraft six billion dollar deal with US-based Boeing and expressed its apprehension that it might have a "political fall out" in Europe.
The EICC in a statement said it was not surprised over the disappointment expressed by the European Union and France citing irregularity and lack of transparency in the process.
The Secretary General of the Brussels-based trade body, Sunil Prasad, said he apprehended that "factors other than commercial have influenced the deal" and hoped that the French attempts to sell Mirage fighter jets to the Indian Air Force would not meet with the same fate.
The Airbus "Fly by-wire" planes in service by both Air India and Indian Airlines for the last several years have proved trustworthy and economic in the light of rising fuel prices and therefore the Indian Government's decision to go for Boeing is "neither convincing nor rational," Prasad said.
He said Airbus has superior technology compared to Boeing and expressed doubts whether Boeing would be able to meet Air India order for the next three years.
Prasad said he was concerned that the Boeing deal would lead to "serious apprehension in Europe" about India's trade and investment policies.
He noted that the European Union is the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment to India and both have developed substantial trade and economic relations.
The "Strategic Partnership Agreement" signed between EU and India on November 8 last year upgrading their relationship to a strategic level, in addition to helping India in its quest to become a global player, was also to promote trade and investment between EU and India, he said.
Meanwhile, India External affairs minister Natwar Singh said, Air-India's decision to buy aircraft from the US-based Boeing and not from Airbus Industries will not affect relations between India and France as both were “mature and friendly countries".
European aircraft maker Airbus Industrie has said it is not hinting at any corruption in the deal between its rival Boeing and Air India on proposed purchase of 50 planes by the state-owned airline but suggested a scrapping of the tender for it and reissue of the same.