The coveted Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France may be reaching its closure, ahead of French President Francois Hollande’s visit to New Delhi. India and France are close to a deal to buy 36 combat planes from Dassault, India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said.Read More
India and France are set to complete the framework agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets as France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian began his visit to India on …Read More
PARIS: The radiant smiles said it all: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande sported ‘Paris in April’ radiance as they unveiled 17-odd pacts in areas ranging from civil nuclear energy, defence and space to smart cities, business, tourism and the promotion of cultural heritage.
Celebrating this new spring in the multi-hued India-France relations, the two leaders went on a boat ride on the lovely Seine caressed by the gently fading sun. It was a time for bonding, camaraderie, small talk and big dreams.
The new Rafale deal was easily the show-stealer as Mr Modi announced at a joint press conference on April 10 with the French president that India will buy 26 Rafale jets from France in fly-away condition, ending months of “deal or no deal” speculation that has stalked this multi-billion dollar plan. The announcement triggered a wave of jubilation among the top French leadership, with Mr Hollande profusely thanking the Indian prime minister for his decision to do the 36-jet deal in an inter-governmental agreement.
Mr Modi, too, has many reasons to be pleased at the big thumps-up he got from the French leadership and the elite French business community for his Make in India campaign. The business confidence in the India Story was reflected in the two round tables Mr Modi addressed on infrastructure and defence with the crème de la crème of French corporate world present at the interactive meetings. The Make in India commitment was reflected in a pact on forging cooperation between Indian and French railways for semi-high speed rail link and station renovation and pledges by French defence majors to undertake co-development of high-value weaponry.
Underscoring a striking convergence of interests on strategic issues, the leaders of India and France spoke about building closer cooperation in a host of cross-cutting areas, including terrorism, cyber security and maritime security.
It was a piece of news French President Francois Holland was itching to hear. And he got it from the horse’s mouth. Ending months of speculation over the big-ticket defence deal, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the French leader that his government has decided to buy 36 Rafale jets “in fly-away condition as quickly as possible.” The announcement by Mr Modi at a joint press meet lit up the face of the French leader and is set to bring the smiles to Dassault, the manufacturer of Rafale, and the French defence industry.
The details of the new contract in the making are not clear, but the new deal could be valued at around $4-6 billion.
“The two leaders agreed to conclude an Inter-Governmental Agreement for supply of the aircraft on terms that would be better than as conveyed by Dassault Aviation as part of a separate process underway,” said a joint statement at the end of wide-ranging talks between Mr Modi and Mr Hollande at the majestic presidential palace, Palais de L’Elysees in the heart of Paris. The delivery of the jets would “in time-frame that would be compatible with the operational requirement of IAF,” said the statement.
The aircraft and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by Indian Air Force, and with a longer maintenance responsibility by France, he added.