Sunday, April 12, 2015

36 Rafale fighter jets Deal with France

Paris/New Delhi: French President Francois Hollande would chair a high-level meeting in Parison Monday to thrash out the finer details of the nearly USD 5 billion deal for the sale of 36 Rafale jets to India in flyaway conditions.
French sources said the meeting at the Elysee Palace would be held between Hollande, his top officials and executives from Dassault Aviation, the manufacturers of the Rafale jets.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who concluded his four-day visit to France today, had asked France to supply 36 Rafale jets in flyaway conditions as soon as possible in view of the critical operational necessity of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The deal would be between the two governments.
"There was nobody, either from Indian side or the French side, when the two leaders spoke about the Rafale. Everyone would be briefed in detail on Monday about what transpired and discussions would be held on how it can be taken forward," sources said.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the 36 Rafale fighter jets would be inducted into the IAF in two years.
Sources said that two years is a fair time as a final contract needs to be negotiated and signed while production of planes will also take time.
The capacity of the Dassault plant is 36 aircraft per anum and the Indian version of the aircraft will have to be fine- tuned as per its requirement.
"The French already have an order from Egypt for 24 Rafale jets which has to be also delivered as soon as possible" sources said, pointing out that specific timelines will have to be worked out.
One of the options that is being looked at is putting on hold the order for the French military and diverting them to meet India's immediate requirements.
Another issue that will come up for discussion is the pricing and also if the French government will be providing a tax holiday or some other concession to Dassault to bring down the prices of the aircraft for India.
Modi and Hollande had agreed to conclude an Inter- Governmental Agreement for supply of the aircraft on terms that would be better than conveyed by Dassault Aviation as part of a separate process underway, which is the MMRCA tender.
The delivery would be in time-frame that would be compatible with the operational requirement of IAF and the aircraft and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by IAF, and with a longer maintenance responsibility by France, a joint statement had said.
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