Big Deal: India gets Rafale advantage over Pakistan

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.
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.

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Culture Connects: India, France bond over yoga, Ayurveda, urban heritage

Paris the Beautiful, beloved of poets, boulevardiers, philosophers and painters. Paris has long been regarded as the cultural capital of Europe, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip would not be complete without forging enduring cultural connections.
The mutual cultural attractions spurred India and France to sign four pacts on preservation and showcasing of urban heritage, the promotion of traditional medicines like Ayurveda and promotion of tourism.
Preservation and promotion of Indian heritage has been on Prime Minister Modi’s agenda since he took office. Remodeling of the Sabarmati river front, his intention to renovate Varansai on the lines of Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto, cleaning of river Ganga (Namami Gange), all come within the rubric of rejuvenating cities, while preserving their cultural component. This feature is very prominent in European cities, and exemplified in Paris.
France has been a pioneer in conservation of monuments, excavations, collection of artefacts and very importantly, making cultural awareness a part of the public psyche. The French ethos holds art and culture in very high esteem, and public reverence and pride attached with their country’s unique culture showcases this unique heritage. Noting this there have been agreements to develop social capital by training a diverse range of professionals. The agreements included a pact on training Indian heritage professionals between the Ministries of Culture.

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India, France lock into green embrace

Clean and Green is set to be the new mantra of the emerging India-France partnership in sustainable development. Ahead of the Paris global climate change summit, French President Francois Hollande announced 2 billion euro investment by French companies to promote green technologies in India and signed two pacts with Asia’s leading oil-dependent economy in areas of energy efficiency.

Unveiling the 2 billion euro green push by France, Mr Hollande said, with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his side, that France needs India’s support to make the climate summit successful to be hosted by Paris in December this year.

“We are perfectly in step over climate change. We need India’s support and leadership for the global climate summit to be successful,” said the French leader.

Mr Modi, an ardent proponent of harmonious living and sustainable development, assured the French leader of New Delhi’s unflinching support for combating global warming.

The focus on green energy was evident in the pact signed by the two countries on the extension of credit facility by Agence Française de Développement for India’s Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) promoting use of LED lighting in selected Indian municipalities;

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From Rafale & nuclear energy to commerce & culture, India-France ties ride high

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.

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