Ending year of visions and revisions, India finally signed one of its biggest defence deals with France to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets, which promise to give the country a decisive edge vis-à-vis its adversary Pakistan in a conflict situation.
The 7.87-billion euro deal was inked by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian in New Delhi on September 23, capping years of hard-fought negotiations which has saved the nation around 750 million Euros.
The deal to buy 36 fighter aircraft in fly-away condition was unveiled during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in April 2015, but the price negotiations dragged on for months resulting in a win-win deal. The Modi government and its negotiators have much to crow about as the final deal has not only saved India 750 million euros compared to the deal negotiated under the previous government, but also comes with a 50 per cent offset clause, which effectively means business of around 3 billion euros for Indian companies.
“I am certain that the Rafale and its performance will hold high the colours of the Indian Air Force. It will demonstrate unstinting efficiency in protecting the people of India and the sovereignty of the world’s largest democracy,” said Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO after the signing of the deal.
Meteor advantage for India vis-à-vis Pakistan
Rafale jets, considered the most advanced in the world, will bolster India’s defence as they are equipped with latest missiles and weapon system. The India-specific modifications and the integration of state-of-the-art missiles like ‘Meteor’ and ‘Scalp,’ will give the Indian Air Force the much-needed strike capability against adversaries like Pakistan.
The Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150 km will enable IAF to, if such a situation arises, to strike inside both Pakistan and across the northern and eastern borders while staying well within within India’s territorial boundary. Pakistan currently has 80-km range BVR, but the acquisition of Rafale jets, equipped with 150-km range Meteor, has decisively shifted the balance in India’s favour. ‘
The delivery of these combat aircraft will start in 36 months and will be completed in 66 months from the date the contract is inked.
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