Due to budgetary constraints—specifically, the economic problems in the early 1990s—the refurbishment of old planes and purchase of new ones was halted. Added to this was the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which led to severe shortage of aircraft spares, which rendered many of them unserviceable. The attrition was stemmed to some extent by extensive upgrade programs on the MiG-21 (bis upgrade), MiG-27, Jaguar (DARIN I upgrade) and other aircraft in the mid-1990s. An aggressive program of upgrades was initiated. The MiG-21bis aircraft have been upgraded to MiG-21 Bison levels (125 aircraft will be upgraded to that standard), Jaguars to DARIN III standards, and Mirage 2000s and MiG-27s were also upgraded. The MiG-23MF air defence interceptor was phased out in 2007 by the IAF. Further retirements of MiG-23BN ground attack aircraft began in March 2009. With decreased aircraft squadrons level, MiG-23s are set to be replaced by MRCA winner. The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engined delta-wing agile multi-role fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. The Rafale was brought in as the replacement for the Mirage 2000-5 that was originally a competitor for the tender, after the production lines for the Mirage closed down, as well as the entry of much more advanced aircraft into the competition. The Rafale has the advantage of being logistically and operationally similar to the Mirage 2000, which the IAF already operated and used with great success during the Kargil War in Operation Safed Sagar. This would require fewer changes in the existing infrastructure of the IAF, which reduces costs. Moreover, being 100% French also provided Dassault a distinct edge over its competitors on the issue of technology transfer. Dassault claims that the Rafale has an advantage over many of the competitors because it is not subject to ITAR restrictions. While not included in the MRCA requirement, the French fighter has more configurations of potential interest for the IAF: a carrier-based version (the Rafale M) and a capability for nuclear strategic strike. Both of these particular versions are in use in the French Armed Forces. At present however the Rafale M uses a catapult system (not present on the initial Vikrant) and the nuclear strike use is earmarked by others jets of the IAF. On 26 June 2012, it was revealed that the Rafale M (naval variant) could be used on a STOBAR aircraft carrier without any modification of the planes or installation of catapults on the flight deck. The French government has cleared full technology transfer of the Rafale to India, including that of the RBE2-AA AESA radar which will be integrated into the Rafale by 2010 and also the transfer of software source code, which will allow Indian scientists to re-programme a radar or any sensitive equipment if needed. Without the software source code, the IAF would have to specify mission parameters to foreign manufacturers to enable configuration of their radar, seriously compromising security in the process. Dassault has also offered to fit the GTX-35VS Kaveri engine into the Rafale, which if chosen, would greatly improve commonality with the HAL Tejas that will enter service into the IAF by 2010. Concerns have been raised about cost issues as well as potential sales to Pakistan, which has also expressed interest in the Rafale. However, no such jets have been sold to Pakistan. India and France have recently agreed to "go beyond a buyer-seller relationship".On 31 January 2012 Rafale was declared the winner of the MMRCA competition, beating Eurofighter Typhoon on cost. On 31 January 2012 it was announced that Dassault Rafale had won the competition due to its lower life-cycle cost. The deal had been reported to cost US$28–30 billion in 2014. However, the deal stalled due to disagreements over production in India. Dassault refused to take responsibility for the 108 HAL-manufactured Rafales, as it had reservations about the ability of HAL to accommodate the complex manufacturing and technology transfers of the aircraft. Instead, Dassault said it would have to negotiate two separate production contracts by both companies. The Indian Defence Ministry instead wanted Dassault to be solely responsible for the sale and delivery of all 126 aircraft. In May 2013, The Times of India reported that negotiations were "back on track", with plans for the first 18 Rafales to be delivered in 2017. Another point of contention is a provision where Dassault was to reinvest 50 percent of the deal's earnings into India's defence sectors, either through purchases or technological expertise. In March 2014, the two sides were reported to have agreed that the first 18 aircraft would be delivered to India in flying condition and that the remaining 108 would be 70 percent built by HAL. In December 2014, it was reported that India and France expect to sign a contract by March 2015. On 13 April 2015, the defence minister Manohar Parrikar made an announcement that the M-MRCA tender is "effectively dead". India officially withdrew the 126-aircraft MMRCA tender on 30 July 2015. On the joint press statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's with President François Hollande, during his visit of France, the PM said that India will purchase 36 Rafales, but the contract is yet to be finalized. The agreed upon terms in April 2015 totaled US$8 billion for 36 airplanes costing $200 million each, with an offset requirement of 30 percent of the deal's value for France to reinvest in India's defense sector and create infrastructure in India for the Rafale to operate. India is insisting on a 50 percent offset and two bases, which France says will increase price and require separate infrastructure and two sets of maintenance, training, and armament storage facilities. Ending up, India and France missed the July 2015 target of finalizing the 36-aircraft agreement. India Finalized 36 Rafale from France, recently few have been delivered during recent visit of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. But all eyes are set on MMRCA 2 finalizing. It has already been a 20 years journey.