Monday, January 25, 2016

Overcoming chequered history, India and France finally sign Rafale agreement

New Delhi: As expected, India and France have signed a MoU towards an Inter-governmental agreement (IGA) to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft from Dassault Aviation during the visit of French President Francois Hollande. Hollande is in Delhi as the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations.
The procurement of Rafale fighters from France has a long, chequered history of over a decade. India had issued a tender for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) fighters in 2007, and at the end of the selection process in 2012, Rafale fighters were selected. Things got in a logjam when the price negotiations were taking place, and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar later disclosed that his predecessor, AK Antony’s noting on the negotiations had ensured that the process gets stalled.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris in April last year, India announced a plan to buy 36 Rafale fighters in a government-to-government deal. A few days later, Parrikar announced that the old 126 fighter deal was dead and the 36 fighter deal will be a fresh acquisition.
25/01/16 Sushant Singh/Indian Express

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