News Brief

India, France Begin Government-To-Government Talks For Rs 50,000 Crore Deal On 26 Rafale Fighter Jets For Indian Navy

Kuldeep Negi

Jun 14, 2024, 02:23 PM | Updated 02:23 PM IST

Dassault Rafale-M taking-off from an aircraft carrier
Dassault Rafale-M taking-off from an aircraft carrier

India and France are engaged in negotiations for the purchase of 26 Rafale Marine fighter aircraft for the Indian Navy, with discussions focusing on price and other related issues.

Originally scheduled for 30 May, the talks were postponed to the second week of June, reportedly due to the Lok Sabha polls.

"The French delegation is in New Delhi, including officials from their Directorate General of Armament which is looking after the sale of the Rafale jets to India," defence sources were quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

On the Indian side, officials from the Directorate General of Acquisition within the Ministry of Defence, along with military officers, are participating in these government-to-government talks.

The deal, expected to be worth over Rs 50,000 crore, aims to bolster India's inventory of these advanced aircraft to 62, complementing the existing fleet of 36 Rafale jets in the Indian Air Force.

The new aircraft will be operated from Indian Navy aircraft carriers including INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant, with INS Degha in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh slated as their home base.

Earlier in December last year, France had responded to India's tender for these jets, intended for use on both of its aircraft carriers.

Since receiving France's response to the Letter of Acceptance, the Indian side has conducted a detailed evaluation of the bid, including the commercial offer or price for the aircraft, along with other details of the contract.

The Indian Navy and the central government are working in a fast-track mode to ensure that the acquisition contract is signed at the earliest.

This will enable Indian carriers to operate the highly capable aircraft, thereby providing New Delhi with a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean region.

The Defence Acquisition Council had approved the aircraft deal worth 5.5 billion euros before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France as the state guest for the Bastille Day parade in July last year.

According to the plans, the Indian Navy is set to receive 22 single-seater Rafale Marine aircraft and four trainer aircraft.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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