New Delhi: India’s decade- long quest to acquire Rafale fighter jets from France came to an end on Friday after the two countries signed the 7.8 billion euros ($8.84 billion) deal.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Yves Le Drian signed the deal in New Delhi.
Deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets between India and France signed; deal is worth 7.8 billion euros. pic.twitter.com/UQfI87SLyX
— ANI (@ANI_news) September 23, 2016
According to sources, the jets would arrive in India in batches with the first two coming in the next few months.
The French Defence Minister Yves Le Drian had arrived in India on Thursday evening along with CEOs of Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA and top government officials to finalise the Rafale deal.
The deal for the 36 Rafale fighter jets is the first deal between the two countries in 20 years.
According to sources, the deal cost the country 7.87 billion euros, after tough negotiation from the Indian side which led to delay in finalisation of the deal, which includes weapons and spares apart from 36 jets in flyaway condition. This also includes air-to-air Meteor missiles.
A team from France was present in the national capital since last few weeks and hectic negotiations were on for conclusion of the deal.
According to sources, the Prime Minister’s Office had pushed for concluding the deal early, after more than year-long negotiations, during which the price was a major sticking point.
In 2012, India had decided to ink a deal for 126 Rafale jets. As the deal could not work out, another deal for purchasing 36 Rafale combat jets in fly-away condition was inked during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in April last year.
Both the sides also agreed to conclude an inter-governmental agreement for supply of the aircraft after which a negotiating team was constituted.