India inks 36 Rafale deal with France

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New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security have officially inked a long-delayed 7.8 Billion dollar Combat fighter jet deal with France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets on Friday.

After 36 years India has sealed fighter jet deal. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean Yves LeDrian have inked the agreement in New Delhi today.

The purchase of the Rafale fighter jets aims to replace part of the country’s ageing Air Force fleet. The deal was first inked in 2012 for 126 Rafale jets but it faced major delays and obstacles over the last four years.

Earlier in January, an inter-governmental agreement which could not be inked during French President Francois Hollande’s visit in New Delhi .

As the deal failed to approve, another deal for purchasing 36 Rafale combat jets in fly-away condition was inked during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in April last year.

Now after this formal announcement, the deal is finally inked. India will pay 15 percent of this cost in advance and first assemblage of Rafale warplanes is expected to be delivered within 18 months of the signing of the final contract.

The deal is important for India in more than one way. India would get air-to-air Meteor missiles, weapons and spares apart from 36 jets in flyaway Rafales equipped with the Meteor design are potent to knock out enemy aircraft and cruise missiles from a distance of more than 100 km away. Unlike Pak and China, India would lead the southern subcontinent with this technological advancement.

The deal is reportedly turned out after tough negotiation from the Indian side and this is primarily the reason for delay in finalisation of sealing the deal.

The deal also has a 50 per cent offset clause, which will bring investments to India. France will invest 30 percent of the 7.8 billion Euros in India’s military aeronautics-related research programmes besides 20 percent into local production of Rafale components.

A team from France was present in the Delhi since past few weeks and hectic negotiations were underway for finalisation of the deal.

According to sources, the Prime Minister’s Office has pushed for concluding the deal early, after more than year-long negotiations, during which the price was a major hurdle.

Both countries also nodded to conclude an inter-governmental agreement for supplying aircraft after which a negotiation team was formed.

French defence minister Drian and other top government officials along with CEOs of Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA would arrived on Thursday evening.

Wefornews Bureau

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