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India and France to fast-track Rafale deal

In this file photo, a scale model of the French Dassault Rafale aircraft is on at an air show.

In this file photo, a scale model of the French Dassault Rafale aircraft is on at an air show.   | Photo Credit: K_V_Prasad

It would be France’s first foreign sale of the combat-tested planes.

Indian and France agreed on Monday to overcome differences and fast-track ongoing negotiations for the purchase of 126 Rafale fighter jets from France, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

The decision came during discussions between visiting French Defence Minister Yves Le Drian and his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar. Both sides also decided to expand strategic cooperation, the official added.

Negotiations have been going on since 2012 when India selected Dassault Rafale from among competing medium multi-role combat aircraft. Differences cropped up between the two sides on delivery guarantees and price.

The tender stipulates that the first 18 jets should come in “fly-away” condition from France, while the remaining 108 will be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) in India over seven years with Transfer of Technology (ToT).

Dassault has refused to give delivery guarantees for HAL-made aircraft, which the Air Force is insisting on. With the ToT, the cost too escalated from the initial estimate of $10 billion to almost $30 billion.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 12:32:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-nears-deal-for-french-rafale-fighter-jets-defence-ministry/article6654976.ece

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