Saturday, January 16, 2016

Rafale deal to be inked before France President visit?

New Delhi: Suspense is mounting on whether India will finally bite the bullet and ink the deal for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft with the French government ahead of the visit of French President Francois Hollande just before Republic Day. Top sources indicated that though the proposed deal is at a “final stage”, cost negotiations were still on but other sources indicated that a “positive” development would emerge ahead of the French President’s visit. Speculation is also rife that a French defence delegation will visit New Delhi ahead of the French President’s visit and that an agreement could be inked on the deal as a “sweetener” in the strategic defence ties with France. There are indications the deal could cost India about Rs 65,000 crore but there is no clarity on this, officially. Price negotiations had earlier hit a roadblock.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to France earlier in 2015, had announced that India would acquire 36 Rafale MMRCA, citing operational necessity of the IAF. News agency reports had earlier claimed that the negotiations had run into rough weather over the “offset clause and tweaking of weaponry technology which is driving up the cost”. One of the key issues reportedly was the IAF seeking modifications on the Rafale.
16/01/16 AsianAge
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