Any dispute in the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) with France for the 36 Rafale fighter jets will be settled through the bilateral high-level group established by the two governments, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Any dispute not settled by this group shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Laws) arbitration rules, she said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on the lack of a sovereign guarantee in the mega-deal.

For long, the Congress and other opposition parties have been raising the issue of lack of a sovereign guarantee from France in the inter-governmental agreement for the Rafale jets.

Defence Minister Sitharaman said the provisions in the IGA and the letter of comfort provide adequate safeguards to the government of India.

The per unit cost of the basic Rafale aircraft in the 36-jet procurement was about 9 per cent cheaper than the price arrived at in the unconcluded MMRCA process, in which Dassault Aviation was L1 (lowest bidder) in a global open tender, she said.

The deal for 36 fighter jets agreed to during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2015 visit to France has kicked up a massive political row in the country, with the opposition alleging corruption in the deal.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who has been attacking the government consistently, has said that if his party comes to power in the Lok Sabha elections, a criminal investigation will be launched into the Rafale deal and the accused will be punished.