Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/9/23
India has cleared a deal with France to procure 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition, officials said Thursday.
According to officials, the two countries will ink the deal on Friday.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Thursday. Reports said Drian would be accompanied by CEOs of Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA to seal the multi-billion dollar deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets.
Indian government’s cabinet committee on security has already cleared the contract.
Defense officials feel the purchase of Rafale jets would bolster the country’s military image in the region and help modernize Indian military’s ageing fleet of combat aircrafts.
The Indian government signed an memorandum of understanding in January this year with the French government for the purchase of the aircrafts.
The procurement of Rafale jets was first initiated in 2012. Indian government then intended to buy 126 fighter jets. However, the purchase faced delays and hurdles during the past four years over the cost and assembly of the planes in India.
The procurement was finally scaled down to 36 aircrafts.
India for upgrading its military arsenal depends on imports from countries like Russia, the United States, France and Israel.