India signs agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai | September 23, 2016, 14:31 IST

The deal was signed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Le Drian 16 months after PM Narendra Modi announced India’s plans to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly away condition during his trip to France.

India signed a deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France for close to 7.8 billion euros ($8.7 billion) on Friday. The deal was signed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Le Drian 16 months after PM Narendra Modi announced India’s plans to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly away condition during his trip to France.

The 7.8 billion euro deal is crucial for the Indian Air Force that is grappling with a drawdown of its fighter fleet. The delivery of the combat aircraft will begin in 36 months and will be completed in 66 months from the date the contract is inked.

The Modi government had cleared the deal amid indications that the French government waived off the advance guarantee, allowing India to save 134 million euros.

Following on from the Mirage 2000, whose effective service with the Indian Air Force played a major role in establishing the reputation of Dassault aircraft, the Rafale was chosen by India in 2012 following a competitive bidding process initiated in 2007. The Rafale has been used by the French armed forces in combat operations for more than a decade now and has proven its operational excellence in various theatres around the world.

This new contract illustrates the strategic relationship and the exemplary partnership maintained between the two countries and marks the natural culmination of the relationship of trust initiated in 1953 when India became Dassault Aviation’s first export customer.

This further success of the Rafale confirms the technological know-how and competences of Dassault Aviation’s employees and of its 500 industrial partners. It rewards the work done by a close-knit “France” team. It represents a decisive step forward in achieving Dassault Aviation’s goal of establishing itself in India with a view to developing wide-ranging cooperation under the “Make in India” policy promoted by Mr Narendra Modi.

“I am honoured and delighted by the decision of the Indian Authorities which gives new impetus to our partnership for the coming decades and I thank them for their confidence. Together, Indian and French companies alike, we will endeavour to ensure ambitious industrial cooperation. 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”, declared Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO.
 

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